Mandurah residents have been blessed with a top crabbing season – a stark contrast from last year, says local fisherman Damien Bell.
Also the Mandurah Licensed Fishermen's Association president, Damien said the “excellent” season was due to “the right series of conditions”.
“We have good size crabs and there’s enough nutrients in the water because of the winter run-off and the earlier heat this year,” Damien said.
“We had the right Spring and early Summer temperatures.
“The crabs have come through at a good size and we’re having a proper Mandurah season.”
The crabs have come through at a good size and we’re having a good, proper Mandurah seasonMandurah Licensed Fishermen's Association president Damien Bell
Damien said he was pleased after the below-average season last year.
“We had a big dump of rain from a cyclone and the crabs that we had were pushed out to sea in February,” he said.
Damien said he was worried that Cyclone Joyce, that dumped 160 millimeters of rain on Mandurah last week, would have an affect on this season.
“We’re hoping the fresh water doesn’t flush down and destroy this season,” he said.
The Fisheries department have done well recently to police both recreational and commercial fisherman, said Damien.
“They have upped their surveillance and their fines for people taking undersized crabs,” he said.
“It’s a resource that should be protected for everyone and the magistrates are finally dealing fairly heavy fines and confiscating boats.
“That’s not only for crabbing but also for interfering with rock lobsters.”
A Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development spokesperson said they are continuing to educate crab fishers on the minimum size requirements.
“However, it is expected that if people intend to catch crabs they must bring a gauge with them to ensure all crabs caught are of size,” the spokesperson said.
“People are also reminded that when fishing in marron snare only waters, you can’t have a dip net or scoop net in your car or anywhere within 50 metres of the waters.”
The spokesperson said the number of fines and prosecutions issued for the 2017/18 season are down on the previous year mainly due to the abundance of legal sized crabs available this season.
The spokesperson said the crabbing hot spots include the Harvey Estuary, Herron Point and Coodanup.
“At the moment the drop netters from boats are getting the best catches with the south western side of the Peel and the southern half of the Harvey Estuary producing the most consistent catches,” the spokesperson said.
“For people who do not have a boat, they can still do well from shore in most areas with Island and Herron Point still producing good numbers of crabs.
“Crabs can be found all the way along the shoreline in the Harvey Estuary if the water is clear enough to spot them.
“Coodanup is producing some good catches but is heavily weeded at the moment.”