Bitter disappointment as Ocean Reef development leads to loss of day’s fishing

This summer, licensed abalone recfishers will be able to gather abalone in the zone, from Guilderton to Busselton, for four days – marking a loss of one day.

Abalone enthusiasts will be able to gather abalone between 7am and 8am on the following days:

  • Saturday, 11 December;
  • Saturday, 8 January;
  • Saturday, 5 February;
  • Saturday, 19 February.
Gathering abalone along the west coast is an awesome hands-on fishing experience.

A day’s fishing lost

Following years of good stewardship by abalone fishers to recover the metro stock after the marine heatwave, abalone fishers could have had an extra fishing day as stock recovery was good.

This opportunity, however, has been lost  because the impact of the Ocean Reef marina development on abalone stocks with the loss of 12ha of prime abalone habitat.

As a result, the almost 20,000 abalone fishers who account for $600,000 in licence fees each year have been dealt a 20 per cent reduction in their fishing season.

Recfishwest shares abalone fishers’ disappointment and frustration that the marina development has negatively impacted on our metro abalone fishing.

An adequate offset?

Recfishwest has been pressing Development WA, who are overseeing the marina’s breakwater construction, to develop an appropriate and adequate offset plan prior to construction starting for the past two years.

Frustratingly, all that has happened to date are endless meetings, working groups and promises of future action.

It should be noted that in the absence of an adequate offset strategy the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) were left with little option other than to reduce fishing effort by a day.

The responsibility for losing a day’s fishing rests solely with Development WA and not DPIRD, who like Recfishwest, are keen to see impacts of the marina developments on fishing experiences appropriately avoided, reduced, mitigated and offset.

Recfishwest will continue to push Development WA for an acceptable plan to address this loss of habitat, abalone stocks and fishing access.

The metro abalone fishery is a popular fishery on Perth’s doorstep for many, including abalone aficionado Steph Watts.

Staying safe while gathering abalone

Gathering abalone along the west coast is a great hands-on fishing experience.

If you’re heading out to chase abalone this season, it’s important that safety is at the forefront of your mind.

While moving the metropolitan abalone fishing season to the summer months has reduced the chances of unfavourable conditions, fishers still need to plan for safe fishing experiences.

Recfishwest urges all abalone fishers to be prepared and wear appropriate clothing, understand your swimming ability and check weather conditions.

If you’re not confident, simply don’t go in the water.

Check wind conditions and swells beforehand – visit the Beach Safe website for up-to-date reports.

Also, once you arrive at your location, observe first, fish later.

It is important to identify the best place to safely enter the water and wear correct clothing, such as a wetsuit – not jeans or a jumper.

Based on the Hazardous Surf Assessment Model, the weather conditions for the first day of the season are looking good. Conditions are forecast to be moderate temperatures, falling tide 0.5m with moderate swell (with low to negligible secondary and tertiary swell) and moderate winds tending onshore.

With waves breaking at near 1m height and a higher tide, the amount of standing water on top of reef platforms will be higher than normal and so bring a snorkel. This higher water means holes and drop offs will also be harder to see so take care when moving around.

Good luck gathering abalone this season and safe fishing!

Assess the conditions and wear adequate attire when gathering abalone this season.

Continue Reading

February 22, 2024

Metro southern garfish ban lifted

In good news for metro anglers, the ban on southern garfish from Lancelin to Myalup is due to be lifted from Friday 1 March.   The ban was implemented in 2017 after an assessment by the Fisheries Department showed…

Read More

February 20, 2024

Recfishwest calls for clarity on proposed offshore wind energy (OWE) projects’ impacts on the marine environment and fishing

Recfishwest  says the announcement by the Commonwealth Government on the area being proposed for offshore wind farms was disappointingly light on critical details. The proposal released yesterday has left fishers…

Read More

February 16, 2024

Recfishwest calls on Government to listen to local fishers and re-think illogical and unjustifiable no fishing zones

Recfishwest says that some of the proposed no-fishing zones in the Government’s South Coast Marine Park plans released today are “completely illogical and unjustifiable”. Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “…

Read More

February 14, 2024

Recfishwest welcomes Fisheries Minister’s west coast demersal reallocation decision

Recfishwest welcomes today’s decision by Fisheries Minister Don Punch to reallocate 20 tonnes of the west coast demersal catch to the recfishing sector – just over a year after changes to the fishery were made. …

Read More

January 31, 2024

Fishability launches new Perth vessel to help people with disabilities enjoy the magic of fishing on the Swan River!

Recfishwest and Fisheries Minister Don Punch joined fishing charity Fishability at the Royal Perth Yacht Club on the Swan River to launch its fantastic, new 8.75m specially adapted boat to give people with…

Read More

January 31, 2024

West coast demersal closure from 1 February – recfishers leading by example

From Thursday, 1 February, the west coast demersal fishery between Kalbarri and Augusta will be closed until 29 March (Good Friday) to recfishers.   It’s great to see recfishers play their part in the recovery of…

Read More