Abalone catch an hour of chaos

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - JOSH ZIM­MER­MAN

AN hour of chaos de­scended on Perth beaches yes­ter­day morn­ing as abalone sea­son kicked off with a bang. And a thud. And a crash.

Abalone fish­ing may be the only wa­ter ac­tiv­ity where swim­ming abil­ity and ap­pro­pri­ate at­tire are op­tional, and many of the hun­dreds of peo­ple dash­ing into the shal­lows at Met­tam’s Pool col­lected bruises and cuts at al­most the same rate as the ed­i­ble mol­luscs.

While more ex­pe­ri­enced fish­ers — eas­ily dis­cernible by their choice of bathers or wet­suits rather than jeans — col­lected their 15-abalone bag limit in a mat­ter of min­utes, oth­ers spent the full hour from 7am slip­ping and slith­er­ing all over the reef in search of the highly prized del­i­cacy.

Surf Life Sav­ing WA’s ded­i­cated abalone pa­trol was only re­quired to per­form two res­cues and two pre­ven­ta­tive ac­tions across the metropoli­tan area.

Nine peo­ple were fined $200 for ex­ceed­ing the bag limit with an ad­di­tional two cop­ping $1000 “high-tier” fines for at­tempt­ing to make off with catches well in ex­cess of their quota.

A fur­ther 33 peo­ple were is­sued warn­ings and one per­son is fac­ing a po­ten­tial pros­e­cu­tion for giv­ing Fish­eries of­fi­cers a false name.

Le­gal check: A Fish­eries of­fi­cer with first-time abalone catch­ers.

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