Abalone safety urged
MEASURES to improve safety for 18,000 recreational abalone fishers last season will be used again this summer.
The 2018-19 West Coast zone abalone season will open this Saturday, with licensed fishers permitted to catch abalone between 7am and 8am on December 8, January 12, February 2 and February 16.
“About 18,000 recreational abalone fishers are expected to be out fishing over the four specified fishing days, with a bounty of between 18 to 22 tonnes of abalone available for recfishers to sustainably fish,” Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said.
Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland said licensed fishers were set to descend on popular abalone fishing spots, where they could get a “hands-on fishing experience”.
“We are urging all abalone fishers to be prepared, wear the correct clothing, understand your swimming ability and if you’re not confident, simply don’t go in the water,” Dr Rowland said.
Surf Life Saving WA general manager Chris Peck said surf lifesaving clubs would put on extra patrols, supported by jet skis, the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter and drone patrol, but they could not guarantee fishers’ safety.
Last season there were five rescues, compared to 49 the previous season.