The recreational abalone season for the West Coast Zone from Moore River to Busselton Jetty kicks off on Saturday (December 12) under the watchful eye of the State’s fisheries compliance officers.
The McGowan Government is clear that fishing rules will be enforced to protect the valuable abalone fishery and the unique recreational fishing experience for Western Australians.
While most fishers do the right thing, all fishing may be subject to surveillance by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) compliance officers who work all hours to detect and act on serious illegal fishing activity – which attracts significant penalties.
Fishing out of season, taking undersize abalone or having more than your possession limit can attract penalties as high as $10,000 plus up to 10 times the dollar value of the species.
Compliance officers are highly skilled and well equipped with the latest technology to undertake investigations using surveillance drones and long-range cameras.
The recreational catch is managed through size and bag limits, as well as closed areas and seasons. The bag limit for Roe’s abalone is 15 per fisher per day in the West Coast Zone and the legal minimum size is 60 millimetres.
To keep up to date with Western Australia’s recreational fishing rules, go to fish.wa.gov.au for rules covering more than 180 fish species. The community can also play an important role by reporting any suspect illegal fishing to FishWatch on 1800 815 507. Reports are confidential.
As stated by Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley:
“I’d like to personally thank those recreational fishers who follow the rules and wish to protect abalone stocks. We would not be in this position without the vast majority of abalone fishers doing the right thing.
“While I know that most fishers do the right thing and assist our compliance team in catching poachers, those who don’t will be held accountable by the McGowan Government.
“Recreational fishing is a big driver of our economy and it is critical we protect it, so it remains sustainable.
“Being close to shore and a lucrative resource, abalone stocks are especially vulnerable in our most populated regions, including off Perth’s metropolitan coast, where they are easily accessible.
“That’s why it is important that we continue to educate and monitor our fishers and ensure WA’s oceans are used in a sustainable and equitable manner.”