Abalone fishing in the West Coast Zone cancelled for Saturday

Recreational fishing for abalone in the West Coast Zone, due to take place between 7am and 8am this Saturday, has been cancelled because of expected hazardous conditions.

Surf Life Saving WA surf prediction modelling indicates potentially unsafe conditions, due to a high swell period expected to contribute substantially to wave energy surging over the reef platforms where fishing occurs. These conditions can potentially occur even on a sunny day with light winds.

Following a safety review, triggered by the deaths of a number participants in past seasons, the WA Government made changes ahead of last season. This weekend’s cancellation of fishing is part of the management changes designed to keep recreational fishers and lifesavers safe.

Under these changes a decision has to be made by Wednesday to meet legal requirements.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Aquatic Resource Management director Nathan Harrison said this Saturday’s abalone fishing hour had been cancelled based on recommendations from Surf Life Saving WA.

“Putting safety first is a priority for the department, Surf Life Saving WA and Recfishwest – no abalone is worth risking your life over,” he said.

“Part of the management changes, introduced last season, involved shifting the fishing to four Saturday sessions during summer to reduce the likelihood of bad weather or ocean conditions, but the new safety strategy also allows the cancellation of fishing activity if required.

“This means no fishing can take place this Saturday, January 12, in the West Coast Zone.

“The next scheduled abalone fishing day in the West Coast Zone will be Saturday, 2 February 2019.”

Mr Harrison urged abalone fishers to embrace the important safety changes and not go fishing this Saturday, because even if ocean conditions improve the fishing hour is still cancelled.

“An extra fishing day could be added to the end of the current fishing season, subject to catches being within target levels,” Mr Harrison said.

“Recreational fishers will be advised of the possible extension to the season after the last scheduled fishing day on 16 February 2019.

“Importantly from now on, if dangerous ocean conditions or poor weather are forecast, we will close the fishery so that fishers or SLSWA volunteers’ lives are not put at risk.”

The West Coast Zone includes the Perth Metropolitan Area and runs from Busselton Jetty to Moore River.

For more information visit http://www.fish.wa.gov.au.