More than 15,500 people have taken out licences to access WA’s West Coast Zone abalone fishery in the lead up to the first fishing day on Saturday, December 9.
Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly announced important changes to the 2017-18 West Coast Zone recreational abalone fishing season to improve fisher safety, following a significant review of the fishery.
The season now runs over the summer months to reduce the risk of rough weather conditions and fishing days will be on four specified Saturdays to ensure Surf Life Saving WA have the resources to help make the one-hour fishing window safer.
Mr Kelly said from now on if poor weather conditions are forecast, the fishery would be closed.
“We won't put fishers or Surf Life Saving WA volunteers’ lives at risk,” he said.
“It is not worth risking a life for an abalone which is why we have introduced new measures to help improve fisher safety.
“I urge abalone fishers to think safety at all times as they seek this seafood delicacy, remembering that it’s not worth risking your life for any fish.”
Fishing will be open between 7am and 8am on Saturday December 9, January 13, February 3 and February 17.
Recreational abalone catches will be closely monitored on all fishing days to ensure the target range of 18-22 tonnes is met, using options to reduce, or extend, the number of fishing days as appropriate.
This will ensure the ongoing sustainability of this highly popular but fragile fishery.
More details and season dates are available at fish.wa.gov.au.