One hour limit for abalone fishing from the Busselton Jetty to Moore River

Abalone.
Abalone.

Recreational fishing for abalone in the West Coast Zone, between the Busselton Jetty and Moore River, is set to go ahead from 7am to 8am on December 14, 2019.

The Surf Life Saving WA recommendation for the day is a low to medium risk rating, based on surf prediction modelling.

SLSWA's modelling is guided by the best available information on sea and weather conditions from multiple information sources and sites.

Licensed recreational fishers are reminded that safety should be their top priority and to make an individual assessment of the sea and weather conditions on the day and ensure their water skills, clothing and gear are suitable for abalone fishing.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development senior management officer Rhiannon Jones said while the risk has been assessed low to medium, conditions on the day should be respected.

"Putting safety first is a priority for the Department, SLSWA and Recfishwest - don't put your life at risk for an abalone," she said.

"Study the waves before you go in, keep an eye on the swell while fishing and wear the right gear - it's easy to be injured on reefs.

"If you are unsure whether conditions are too rough, on any of the four planned fishing hours this season, then don't go into the water."

Additional abalone fishing safety tips are also available on SLSWA's website at mybeach.com.au/safety-rescue-services/coastal-recreation/abalone/

Ms Jones said abalone fishing remained off limits and permanently closed from Moore River all the way to the Northern Territory border, until stocks have recovered to sustainable levels.

"Maintaining the sustainability of the abalone resource is vital," she said.

"Currently fishing is only permitted in the West Coast Zone for one hour on four days in the summer months, with a target catch levels of 18 to 22 tonnes.

"Adhering to the limited season and other management controls is important to ensuring future generations can enjoy this unique Western Australian recreational fishing experience.

"The good news is that DPIRD abalone researchers have observed good signs, with surveys showing the density of both harvest-size and juvenile Roe's abalone are increasing for both the reef platforms and sub-tidal habitats.

"It's hoped further increases will occur in the future."

For details on the rules around recreational abalone fishing in WA, see the special guide on the licences page of the department's website at fish.wa.gov.au.

Fisheries officers from DPIRD will be monitoring this Saturday's fishing hour to ensure compliance with the rules, noting that fishers are required to produce a valid licence if requested to do so.