Abalone fishing to go ahead despite troublesome weather forecast

Abalone fishers are being urged to consider their safety when entering the water on Saturday. Photo: File image.
Abalone fishers are being urged to consider their safety when entering the water on Saturday. Photo: File image.

Recreational abalone fishing will take place as planned this Saturday, but Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) is urging fishers to keep their personal safety top of mind with troublesome weather conditions expected.

The fishing period for the West Coast Zone is set to take place from 7am to 8am, with the recommendation from SLSWA (based on surf prediction modelling) is that fishing can proceed, but with caution.

So, licensed abalone fishers taking part are reminded to make an individual assessment of the sea and weather conditions on the day and ensure their water skills, clothing and gear are suitable for abalone fishing.

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SLSWA’s modelling is guided by the best available information on sea and weather conditions from multiple information sources and sites.

This rates the risks for factors such as wind speed, swell, tide and swell period.

Department of Regional Development Director of Aquatic Resource Management Nathan Harrison said while the forecast swell period would be lower than predictions for the cancelled January 12 fishing day, caution was still needed for this Saturday.

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

“The Surf Life Saving WA modelling for Saturday sets the risk factors in the upper medium range.

“If you are unsure whether conditions are too rough, don’t go in. Study the waves before you get into the water, keep an eye on the swell while fishing and wear the right gear - it’s easy to be injured on reefs.”

Mr Harrison said to replace the cancelled abalone fishing day in January, an extra fishing day could be added to the end of the current fishing season.

“At this stage the proposed additional day is being considered for Saturday, March 9, but this is subject to the estimated recreational abalone catches being within the sustainable target levels of 18 to 22 tonnes if the extra day is added,” he said

“The department continues to monitor this season’s catch so that information on the additional day can be provided as early as possible.”

Additional abalone fishing safety tips are also available on Surf Life Saving WA's website at mybeach.com.au