Surf Life Saving WA, the state’s peak coastal safety organisation, are reminding fishers to use caution ahead of this weekend’s West Coast zone abalone fishing season opener.
Surf Life Saving WA General Manager Lifesaving, Chris Peck says that despite no fatalities last season, abalone fishing is still the most dangerous recreational fishing activity in WA, with five fatalities since 2012.
“With only four one hour fishing sessions each year, this equates to someone dying every 5.5 hours,” said Mr Peck.
“With a number of changes implemented in recent years, aimed at educating fishers to increase their safety, we have seen a reduction in the number of rescues performed with 13 taking place last season, down from 49 the previous year.”
Surf Life Saving WA will continue to deliver a range of safety services including helicopter, jet ski, inflatable rescue boat and beach based patrols however, they are warning against complacency.
“We remind fishers to assess both the conditions of the day and their chosen location, against their own abilities and to not rely solely on surf life saving services for their personal safety,” said Mr Peck.
We also encourage fishers to seek out a location patrolled by these services and to speak with the surf lifesavers there on the day to ascertain how to maximise their catch while ensuring their personal safety and that of friends and family fishing with them.”
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland echoed these comments. “We urge abalone fishers to exercise caution whilst fishing and to be aware of the weather conditions – you should stay in a group and keep an eye out for your mates and other fishers.”
“We also strongly recommend wearing appropriate clothing or wetsuits – avoid tracksuits and work boots that can get water-logged and heavy.”
“This is a great fishery right on our doorstep with more than 17,000 participating fishers and it’s great way to spend the morning with the family as long as it is carried out safely.”
The 2019/20 season will see abalone fishing permitted between 7:00am – 8:00am on:
- Saturday, 14 December 2019
- Saturday, 11 January 2020
- Saturday, 1 February 2020
- Saturday, 15 February 2020
Further abalone fishing safety information and resources, including locations where Surf Life Saving WA services will be patrolling, can be found at www.mybeach/abalone
SLSWA Media Contact: Megan Jones – 9207 6666
Recfishwest Media Contact: Ben Carlish – 0434 942 678
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