Abalone, a delicacy for many fishers in WA, can now be caught in the South Coast region, extending from Busselton Jetty to the South Australian border, until 15th May 2019.
Greenlip abalone are the most common, with their Brownlip cousins being rarer but more sought after due to their size. The smaller Roe abalone is also available along the south coast.
Both Brownlip and Greenlip species are easily identifiable by their appearance with Roe being the smallest and often found in shallower waters, it’s normally quite easy to distinguish between them. All species are rated highly on the dinner plate, and are a delicacy in some countries, often eaten raw or cooked in various ways with different marinades.
Abalone make for a challenging fishing experience but for those looking for the reward, it’s worth the effort and the challenge certainly doesn’t deter the 17,500 fishers that will target abalone over the following months, with the West Coast Bioregion season opening occurring in December.
Where to find abalone
Green and brownip abalone in the Southern Zone can be found on granite or limestone surfaces, with rocks that protrude, slope or are generally cracked. They’re typically in waters deeper than 6 metres and love granite crevices.
You’ll find Roe’s abalone within 2m of the waterline, favouring cracks and crevices on shallow limestone or bouldery granite reefs, as well as around broken rock on offshore islands. Be careful and safe when harvesting Roe’s abalone as their habitat exists in the ‘swell’ zone.
As always, safety is paramount when out fishing for the day. We work hard to ensure fishers return home safe by partnering with Surf Life Saving WA regarding abalone fishing. Read our tips below.
Safety tips when fishing for abalone
NEVER AB ALONE!!!!!
Study the waves before you get into the water and keep an eye on the swell while fishing – it is easy to be injured on reefs. If you are unsure whether conditions are too rough, don’t go in.
Be confident in your swimming ability before undertaking abalone fishing, as you have to swim to get abalone.
Carry your catch in a loose-weave net bag; this will allow water to pass through and not become a dragging weight.
Attach your measuring gauge to your wrist; don’t hang it around your neck.
Wear protective footwear and a wetsuit or light clothing that will not become too heavy when wet.
Know how far you can dive and be wary of the depth you are diving, as shallow water blackout can occur when freediving or holding your breath underwater.
Be shark smart, report all shark sightings directly to the Water Police on 9442 8600.