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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Recreational abalone fishers enjoying a fun and safe fishing experience on a metro reef.

Thursday 4 April 2019

Abalone safety initiatives are helping to make fishing days safer

​A joint effort between the State Government, Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) volunteers, Recfishwest, recreational fishers and our Fisheries and Marine Officers has achieved safer and sustainable outcomes in the abalone fishery over the past two years.

There were no fishing related deaths in the fishery and fishers caught almost 20 tonnes of abalone this season, which was within the sustainable target of 18 to 22 tonnes

Following a number of tragic deaths, several fishing safety initiatives were introduced in 2017 for this unique Western Australian recreational fishery.

Five people have tragically lost their lives abalone fishing since 2012.

New safety measures included:

  • Moving fishing days from Sunday to Saturday to better reflect the availability of SLSWA resources to monitor fishers;
  • Moving the season to summer; and
  • The ability to reschedule and cancel fishing when fishing is unsafe.

Rescues are down from an average of 108 in the three years before changes were introduced to an average of nine for the past two years. Similarly, people requiring first aid has dropped from an average of 190 to nine, and preventative actions have dropped from an average of 1,117 to 118. There were no fatalities in the 2018-19 season.

SLSWA volunteers carry out beach-based patrols as well as jet ski, vessel, drone and helicopter patrols to help keep fishers safe on fishing days. SLSWA and Recfishwest have also run intensive safety education campaigns in the past two years.

We continue to meet with SLSWA and Recfishwest to review each season and consider further improvements.


Last modified: 4/04/2019 2:44 PM

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