The recreational fishing method for abalone is primarily wading and snorkelling.
A licence to fish for abalone is required. With around 18,000 recreational licences issued each year, abalone fishing is a very popular activity. The recreational catch is managed through size and bag limits, as well as closed areas and seasons.
When fishing for abalone ensure you abide by catch care rules.
Full rules and regulations can be found in the Recreational fishing for abalone guide.
Seasons and locations
Recreational abalone fishing zones
Zone 1 (West Coast Zone)
Zone 1 extends from Busselton Jetty to the Greenough River Mouth. This includes all islands within the zone including Rottnest, Carnac, Garden and Penguin islands.
Fishing is only permitted for one hour a day on five Sundays annually from the first Sunday in November. See the Recreational fishing for abalone guide for more details.
Please note: No abalone or sea urchin fishing is permitted north of Moore River until further notice.
Recreational fishers are prohibited from taking sea urchins within the Marmion Marine Park and the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park at all times. Fishing for sea urchins is permitted in all areas outside of marine parks, sanctuary zones and protected areas only during the open abalone season.
Zone 2 (Northern Zone)
Zone 2 extends from the Greenough River mouth to the Northern Territory border.
Due to high abalone mortality resulting from high water temperatures this zone is closed to abalone and sea urchin fishing until further notice.
Zone 3 (Southern Zone)
Zone 3 extends from the Busselton Jetty to the South Australian border.
Fishing for abalone in this zone is permitted between 1 October and 15 May the following year.
Statewide bag, size and possession limits
per licensed fisher
per licensed fisher
There is also a boat limit for greenlip/brownlip abalone - a maximum of five (combined species) per fisher per day (or 10 when there are two or more licensed abalone fishers on board) may be carried on a boat.
There is no boat limit for Roe's abalone.
Key points to remember.
When accessing beaches to catch abalone, you should use designated paths and avoid damaging coastal vegetation.
You should only collect abalone for yourself and not for other people who are not actively participating in fishing.
To remove abalone, insert a flat blade under the edge of the abalone and lift with a quick, strong flick.
Take your catch home to clean it. Removing abalone from their shells is not permitted within 200 metres of the high-water mark so that abalone remains don’t spoil the beach for others or attract stingrays and other marine foragers to the area. Don’t shuck abalone at sea; leave them in their shells so our staff can check their sizes.
Using abalone meat or any abalone material as fishing bait is prohibited and significant fines apply. This prohibition has been introduced to reduce the risk of introducing abalone viral ganglioneuritis into WA waters.
Always carry a gauge to measure the shell before you take the animal off the reef.
Illustration © R. Swainston/www.anima.net.au