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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Wednesday 22 February 2023

Wrap up of the 2022-23 West Coast Zone abalone fishing season

The West Coast Zone (WCZ) recreational abalone fishing season for 2022/23 has delivered some improved safety outcomes this summer, with a dramatic fall in rescues.

Surf Life Saving WA volunteers oversaw relatively good ocean conditions for the majority of the four one-hour sessions, with fishers heeding the personal safety message. 

When ocean conditions are more challenging fishers can easily get into difficulty and it is important that individuals don’t take risks beyond their skill level.   
   An aerial of abalone fishers at Ocean Reef (credit Surf Life Saving WA)​ 

With the season now wrapped up, abalone researchers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) have the task of reviewing the catch and effort data gathered with the help of research volunteers.

DPIRD researchers are currently validating the data, however, preliminary estimates indicate about 22 to 24 tonnes of abalone were caught during the four-hour season. Knowing the catch and number of fishers participating across the WCZ assists with ensuring the continued sustainable management of this fishery. 

While it’s estimated that 5,000 fishers on average take part across the sessions, our DPIRD compliance officers’ initial assessment indicates that fewer fishers than usual took part in Saturday’s final session.

Compliance officers kept an eye on the abalone fishing activity during the season, from which two prosecutions are being progressed - one for 67 abalone over the bag limit at Iluka and another for an excess of 36 abalone in Mandurah. There is a further pending prosecution for a fisher who refused to supply details when requested by a DPIRD compliance officer.

Throughout the 2022/23 season, the following compliance breaches were recorded:
    • 76 infringement fines issued plus 88 formal warnings for bag limit offences. The allowable bag limit is 15 Roe’s abalone.
    • six infringement fines and eleven warnings were issued for possession of undersized abalone. 
    • four people were fined for not having a valid abalone fishing licence. 
    • six warnings were given for fishing outside the prescribed fishing sessions that run between 7am and 8am, and 
    • four infringement fines and 11 warnings were issued over taking shellfish from Marmion Marine Park.
The abalone fishing guide explains the rules that licensed fishers must follow.

DPIRD Principal Fisheries Management Officer Shirree Blazeski said the sustainability of the popular fishery for a seafood delicacy was vital to maintaining this unique WA fishing experience.

“Even if it’s only for a limited time each summer, having the opportunity to access a recreational abalone fishery on the doorstep of a major city like Perth is unrivalled and something to cherish,” Ms Blazeski said.

“It’s good to note that more fishers appear to be heeding the safety warnings and assessing their own personal safety before they head out on to our limestone reefs along the metropolitan coast.  

“We offer a big thank you to our safety partners at Surf Life Saving WA, our Fisheries compliance and education officers, research staff and volunteers for all their efforts over the 22/23 West Coast Zone season.”

While the WCZ abalone season has been completed, fishing is permitted in the Southern Zone (Zone 3) daily between 1 October and 15 May the following year. The Southern Zone 2022/23 season is still open and extends from the Busselton Jetty to the South Australian border. 

The Southern Zone annual closure does not start until 16 May 2023 with the daily bag limit for Roe’s abalone at 20 per licensed fisher per day. The combined daily limit for greenlip and/or brownlip abalone is five.

Find out more about abalone fishing in WA at: rec_licence_abalone.pdf (

Last modified: 22/02/2023 10:27 AM

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