Abalone fishing at Ocean Reef

Thousands of recreational abalone fishers are expected to descend on inshore reefs this Saturday morning as the first West Coast Zone abalone fishing session of the season has been given the go-ahead.

Surf Life Saving WA General Manager Lifesaving Chris Peck praised the behaviours demonstrated by abalone fishers last season, which saw the season close out with 14 rescues performed by surf lifesavers, a significant decrease from the 109 rescues across the two previous seasons.

“While we would still like to see this figure reduce further, it is encouraging to see that fishers appear to be heeding the safety messages,” said Mr Peck.

“We are hopeful that this will continue and that we will have another fatality-free season”.

This season, there are four scheduled sessions; however, each session is given the final go-ahead based on the predicted conditions and level of risk to participants.

All 14 of the rescues performed last season were during the final session, which indicates the impact that the conditions have on the safety of fishers.

“This just reinforces how important it is that fishers make a decision about whether or not to participate, or which location to attend, based on the forecast conditions for the day.”

“They know their abilities best, and need to use common sense to determine whether they have the capacity to participate safely without putting their lives at risk for the sake of a catch”.

Despite the improved statistics, Surf Life Saving WA is warning fishers not to be complacent, and to continue to observe the appropriate behaviours to help keep themselves safe. This includes wearing and carrying gear appropriate for the activity, and importantly, keeping an eye on mates and other fishers.

Surf Life Saving WA will continue to deliver a range of safety services including jet ski, inflatable rescue boat and beach-based patrols at the following locations within the West Coast Fishing Zone: Point Peron, Mettams Pool, Hamersley Pool, Marmion Beach, Burns Beach, Quinns Mindarie and Yanchep.

The 2023/24 fishing sessions will occur for one hour between 7:00 am and 8:00 am on the following Saturdays:

  • 9 December 2023
  • 13 January 2024
  • 3 February 2024
  • 17 February 2024

Last season, Surf Life Saving WA services performed:

  • 14 rescues
  • 45 First Aids
  • 1,685 preventative actions.

Further abalone fishing location, safety information and resources, including areas where Surf Life Saving WA services will be patrolling, can be found at www.mybeach.com.au/coastal-safety/coastal-recreation/abalone/

*Statistics are subject to change, pending the outcome of ongoing coronial investigations.

In November 2022, Surf Life Saving WA received funding for a period of three (3) years by the State of Western Australia and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Recreational Fishing Fund towards Abalone Patrols.