Great result for abalone fishers after metro management plan pays off

It’s always great to see a fishery management plan work – and thanks to careful management of the metro abalone fishery with the State’s 17,500-plus licensed abalone fishers sticking to the rules – WA abalone fishers can now enjoy an extra day of abalone fishing in the metro this season.

“You’ll always get the nay-sayers and doubters, but today’s announcement by Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley is proof-positive that in the five years since fishing days were reduced, metro abalone stocks have recovered sufficiently to allow for a fifth day of fishing to be restored,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.

In the announcement this morning, Minister Tinley confirmed that licensed recfishers can now catch abalone from Guilderton to Busselton across five Saturdays between 7am and 8am on these days:

Recfishwest’s James Florisson is among abalone aficionados stoked about today’s news.

–    12 December.
–    9 January.
–    23 January.
–    6 February.
–    20 February.

Read Minister Tinley’s media statement here

From stock devastation to stock recovery 

“It’s a great result for ab aficionados across the metro, after a decision was made in 2015 to protect abalone stocks by reducing the bag limit from 20 to 15 and adding in a 20-tonne total allowable catch limit that effectively reduced the season from five to four days,” Dr Rowland said.

The fishing effort reduction came on the back of the marine heatwave in 2010/11 that had a devastating impact on metro abalone stocks.

Over the past few years, though, metro abalone stocks have been showing positive signs of recovery in the past few seasons.

Dr Rowland said data gathered by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development scientists showed recruitment levels of Roe’s abalone in metro waters have now returned to pre-heatwave levels.

“Thankfully, this isn’t one of those occasions where we have to wait years to get an obvious change to fishing rules,” Dr Rowland said.

“We will continue to look at more ways to improve your access to abalone as the stocks continue to improve including returning the bag limit to 20.

“That said, things are definitely moving in the right direction for this great fishery on the doorstep of our capital city.”

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