Recreational fishers will be able to take more western rock lobster in the West Coast Region this season, with the daily bag limit rising from six to eight per person. The limit has been increased to help recreational fishers get closer to reaching their share of the rock lobster catch.
Each season the recreational sector is allocated a five per cent share of the sustainable harvest level set for western rock lobster, with commercial fishers allocated 95 per cent. But in the past five years recreational fishers have been taking less than three per cent. To boost their share of the take, recreational fishers have been allocated a total catch of 322 tonnes for the 2012-13 season, up from 290 tonnes last season.
As well as the higher bag limit, the number of licensed fishers able to operate from a boat will increase from two to three in the West Coast Region. This means the boat possession limit will rise to 24 in that region, with three licensed fishers able to catch eight rock lobsters each.
The number of pots that may be pulled per boat trip has also risen in the West Coast Region - from four to six - when there are three or more licensed fishers on board. The West Coast Region runs from Black Point, east of Augusta, to the Zuytdorp Cliffs, north of Kalbarri.
Another change is a decrease in the escape gap size on pots from 55 mm to 54 mm. Escape gaps are required in all regions except the North Coast Region and the part of the Gascoyne Coast Region that is north of North West Cape.
The recreational rock lobster fishing season runs from November 15, 2012, to June 30, 2013.
With the previous ban lifted, licensed fishers will now be allowed to dive for rock lobsters at the Abrolhos Islands. The season there runs from March 15, 2013, to June 30, 2013.