Jon Ford

Jon Ford

Minister for Employment Protection; Regional Development; Fisheries; the Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne

    Minister urges safety-first approach to abalone season

    6/11/2005 12:00 AM

    Fisheries Minister Jon Ford today urged recreational abalone fishers to play it safe with a three metre swell forecast for the opening of the west coast abalone season.

    Speaking at Mettams Pool, Mr Ford said the safety of abalone fishers was a priority.

    The Minister said a grant of $4,000 to the Scarborough and Trigg Island Surf Life Saving Clubs would fund extra beach and boat patrols between Trigg and Marmion during the brief season.

    Volunteer Fisheries Liaison Officers (VFLOs) would also be on duty.

    “They have been briefed by members of the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia about safety issues, such as rips, ocean currents, swells and reefs, safe fishing equipment and emergency action plans,” Mr Ford said.

    The west coast abalone zone extends from Busselton Jetty to the Greenough River mouth and the season lasts for just nine hours, spread over six Sundays.

    The season is open from 7am to 8.30am, each Sunday, between November 6 and December 11, and fisheries officers will closely watch abalone spots.

    The Minister said Perth was one of the few capital cities in the world that boasted a sustainable abalone fishery on its doorstep.

    “Strict rules make this abalone fishery one of the most tightly managed recreational stocks in the world,” Mr Ford said.

    “Highly valued for their eating qualities, abalone are sedentary animals and are easily taken from their shallow reef habitats.

    “They also attract very high market prices which makes them vulnerable to poaching.”

    The Minister said the department’s extensive scientific work on the biology of abalone and stock assessment programs were vital to maintain Perth’s abalone fishery at sustainable levels.

    The bag limit for Roe’s abalone is 20 per fisher per day and the minimum legal size is 60mm. The bag limit for greenlip and brownlip abalone, which are found in cooler southern waters, is five per fisher per day and the minimum legal size is 140mm.

    A possession limit also applies to private residences of 80 Roe’s and 20 green and brownlip abalone.

    Only people holding current Western Australian recreational fishing licences may take abalone.

    “It is vitally important that fishers measure the abalone before they remove the shell from the reef, because they are unlikely to survive after being dislodged,” Mr Ford said.

    Fines of up to $5,000 apply for taking undersized abalone, exceeding bag limits, or fishing out of season.

    The Gallop Government is protecting and enhancing WA’s unique lifestyle and environment.

    Full details about the recreational abalone season are available on the Fisheries Department website at

    Minister's office - 9425 4200