Abalone fishers in the West Coast Bioregion will be pleased to hear an extra fishing hour has been scheduled for the Saturday 9th March to replace the hour cancelled on Saturday 12th January.
Since the previous day was cancelled, Recfishwest have been working with The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (Fisheries WA) to ensure the additional hour was scheduled, given catch levels are within the sustainable target level.
We are pleased to also receive the recommendation from Surf Life Saving WA for this weekends scheduled fishing hour to proceed as planned between 7am – 8am. As always, we remind fishers to check the weather before heading out, ensure they have the right equipment, take advice from Surf Life Saving and don’t take unnecessary risks. To find out where you can fish, what equipment you’ll need and for live beach footage, visit https://www.mybeach.com.au/safety-rescue-services/…/abalone/
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.
Rules and regulations regarding abalone fishing can be found here.
Not sure how to cook them? See our recommendation below. (Click to enlarge).
The first day of the 2017/18 metropolitan abalone season occurred on Saturday 9th December and thousands of fishers enjoyed near perfect conditions allowing them to easily catch their bag limit.
Fisheries scientists monitoring the day reported excellent catches with some bags (15 Abalone) weighing in at just under 3kg. The good catches can be attributed to a mixture of excellent weather conditions which allowed fishers to be selective in which Abalone they collected and provided an opportunity for fishers to venture to the back of the reefs where larger abalone can be found.
While recent management changes (which included moving fishing to a Saturday) are likely to have been responsible for a small reduction in the number of people fishing, these same changes ensure the fishery will only open when the weather conditions pose an acceptable risk.
In previous years the season-opening days were set in stone and if weather conditions happened to be terrible on the day then people would still be permitted to fish. Fishing on days with bad weather not only poses substantial safety concerns for both fishers and rescue personnel it also reduces the level of enjoyment.
This year, the final decision to proceed with Saturday’s fishing was taken by Fisheries on Wednesday morning after advice from Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) that predicted weather conditions on the day did not pose a high risk for anyone.
In order to provide Fisheries with advice about the predicted risk level, SLSWA developed a Hazardous Surf Prediction Model which takes account of Wind, Swell, Tide and Wave period. This model recommends closing a fishing day if a high risk is forecast.
Weather conditions that will lead to a recommendation to close a fishing day include:
• If the Swell is 3 meters or greater
• OR – if the combined Tide and Swell is Rating 12 or more, this is to be considered high risk.
• OR – if the offshore wind speed is greater than 22 knots (Force 6 on the Beaufort Wind Scale),
• OR – if the combined Period and Swell is Rating 10 or more.
In the event a fishing day is cancelled it will be replaced with another day when conditions are better. This is the first time fisher safety has played such a central role in recreational fishing management and hopefully, these changes will lead to the fishery once again being known as an amazing recreational fishery on the doorstep of a capital city, rather than the most dangerous recreational fishery in the world.
The next scheduled open day on this fishery is the 13th January 2018 with the Department of Fisheries making a final decision on the 10th following advice from Surf Lifesaving WA.
Fish and Survive This Abalone Season
Recfishwest and Surf Life Saving WA are urging people to remain mindful of the conditions and take personal responsibility for their actions through the abalone season which begins this Sunday, November 6.
The popular West Coast Zone Abalone season sees thousands of fishers take to the inshore reefs around the metropolitan coastline, during the one-hour fishing periods from 7am-8am on the first Sunday of each month until March. Recfishwest Chief Executive Officer Dr Andrew Rowland said Abalone is one of the most sought after shellfish with over 17,000 licence holders taking part in the fishery last year.
“We urge Abalone fishers to exercise caution whilst fishing and to be aware of the weather conditions,” Dr Rowland said.
“An early Abalone fishing session is a great way to spend the morning with the family as long as it is carried out safely.’’
The Abalone season is stretched out over several months and allows for plenty of opportunities for people to get out and fish for them.
“Quite simply, if the weather is unfavourable or you’re unsure of your ability in the water during rough conditions, don’t risk your life and go next month when the weather may be better,” Dr Rowland said.
A number of Surf Clubs with the support of Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA) will be putting on additional services for Sunday’s season opening, including the Wesfarmers Jetski response teams, while the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter will cover key locations to watch over fishers. Despite these extra services, SLSWA General Manger Chris Peck warns fishers not to be complacent.
“Since 2012 there have been 3 deaths while abalone fishing and in the past 3 years surf lifesaving services have had to perform 42 rescues of abalone fishers – an alarmingly high number for this one recreational activity,” Mr Peck said.
“Traditionally we will also see cases of hypothermia, or be required to perform resuscitations having retrieved fishers from the water where they may have been washed off the rocks. We urge fishers to consider their own lives, and the lives of those tasked to rescue them, before putting themselves and our volunteer lifesavers in dangerous situations for the sake of catching their quota of Abalone.”
Recfishwest and SLSWA have offered these tips for all Abalone fishers:
o Check conditions – before heading out check weather conditions, including wind conditions and swells. Visit www.beachsafe.org.au for up to date reports or download the free Beachsafe App.
o Observe first, fish later – do not attempt to fish if you are unsure. Read the warnings and dangers on any safety signs.
o Wear appropriate clothing or wetsuits – Avoid heavy clothing, including tracksuits and work boots that become water logged and heavy.
o Never fish alone – stay in a group and keep an eye out for your friends and other fishers.
o Don’t panic – if in trouble stay calm and raise one arm and wave from side to side to attract attention.
A bag limit of 15 Roe’s Abalone per person/ per day in the West Coast Zone applies.
For more information about Abalone, Download the Free Recfishwest Smartphone App for either iPhone or Android.
Tim Grose, Recfishwest, 0411 393 977, firstname.lastname@example.org
Minda Penn, Surf Life Saving WA, 0408 901 959, email@example.com
The hefty penalties for flouting fishing regulations were highlighted by a recent case involving illegal fishing for abalone in the South-West. WA boasts some of the best-managed fisheries in the world, but healthy fish stocks also rely on recreational fishers complying with bag, size and possession limits.
The vast majority of recreational fishers abide by the regulations in the interests of maintaining high-quality fisheries, but unfortunately not all do so. Three Perth men were prosecuted in Busselton Court after being found in joint possession of 342 abalone, more than a third of which were undersize.
The three men were each fined $500 and also ordered to each pay a mandatory additional penalty of $8460 and to share court costs of $169.10. Busselton Court heard the bag and possession limits for roe’s abalone in the Southern Zone were twenty per fisher per day and when Fisheries and Marine Officers inspected the trio’s catch, they found the men had 282 abalone in excess of the allowable number.
The men had been fishing for abalone at Bunker Bay and all pleaded guilty.
This prosecution was one of a number of offences detected through Operation Katla, conducted by Fisheries and Marine Officers since late last year to focus on abalone fishing in the Capes area.
The current fishing season for abalone in WA’s Southern Zone, from Busselton Jetty to the South Australian border, continues until 15 May.
Information on zones, rules and season times for abalone fishing in WA are outlined in the Recreational fishing for abalone guide, which is available online at www.fish.wa.gov.au.