Fisheries Research Report No. 333
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
1035-4549 (Print) 2202-5758 (Online) ISBN:
The Western Australian Recreational Abalone Fishery (RAF) operates in shallow coastal waters along the metropolitan, south-west and south coasts. This hand collection fishery targets three species of abalone. Roe’s Abalone (Haliotis roei) inhabit nearshore reef complexes and are therefore generally collected while wading from the shore in accessible areas. This species is taken from the metropolitan, south-west and south coast regions. Greenlip Abalone (H. laevigata) and Brownlip Abalone (H. conicopora) are collected while wading (including snorkelling) and diving (using compressed air) and occur predominantly in the south coast region.
Recreational fishing for all abalone species is licensed and highly regulated, especially in the Western Zone (includes the Perth Metropolitan Roe’s Abalone Fishery) where fishing is only permitted for a 1-hour period on four days per year.
Recreational abalone fishers are required to hold a licence, and this was used as a sampling frame to select fishers for a phone-recall survey to generate estimates of participation, fishing effort and retained catch (by numbers and weight) for 2021/22. These are the first statewide estimates since intermittent phone-diary surveys in the mid-2000’s.
Participation in the RAF (all three species) by licensed fishers (abalone licence holders aged five years and older) in 2021/22 (1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022) was 12,700 fishers (95% CI 12,391 – 13,008; 74.8% of licence holders). The total fishing effort (all three methods) for abalone fishing (all species) in 2021/22 was 48,860 days fished (95% CI 46,186 – 51,534); of which 94.4% or 46,111 (43,554 – 48,667) was by wading and 5.6% or 2,749 (1,846 – 3,652) by diving.
The statewide harvest of Roe’s Abalone in 2021/22 was 48.0 t whole weight (ww) (95% CI 45.6 – 50.4); of which 99.6% or 47.8 t ww (45.4 – 50.2) was caught by wading and 0.4% or 0.2 t ww (0.1 – 0.4) by diving. The majority of this catch occurred in the Metro (46.9%) and South-West (34.6%) regions. The statewide harvest of Greenlip Abalone was 4.0 t meat weight (mw) (95% CI 3.3 – 4.7); while Brownlip Abalone was 1.5 t mw (95% CI 0.9 – 2.1), with the majority of these catches obtained by wading.
A range of social and attitudinal information was also collected to inform future strategies for safety, communication and engagement with fishers. In terms of safety, 92.8% of fishers considered the weather and ocean conditions before going fishing and 68% of abalone licence holders could swim more than 200 metres (m) in a standard 25m swimming pool. Although 77.2% of abalone fishers spoke English at home, Mandarin (6.2%) and languages from other parts of Asia (9.2%) were also common. The majority of abalone fishers who fished were very satisfied (55.7%) or quite satisfied (29.6%) with this activity.
This statewide phone-recall survey of the RAF will complement annual on-site monitoring within the Perth Metropolitan Roe’s Abalone Fishery, as well as provide robust estimates for use in stock assessments.
Number of Pages
Roe's Abalone, Perth Metropolitan Roe's Abalone Fishery
Smallwood, C.B., Ryan, K.L., Lai, E.K.M., Rudd, L.J. and Strain L.W.S. 2023. Recreational fishing for Abalone in Western Australia in 2021/22: estimates of participation, effort and catch. Fisheries Research Report No. 333. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia. 33pp.