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Show Bioregions

Abalone, greenlip and brownlip

Haliotis laevigata, Haliotis conicopora
Minimum size (mm)
140
Daily bag limit
5
Greenlip/brownlip abalone (combined) – see 'Additional rules and information' for details
Boat limit
5
Greenlip/brownlip abalone (combined) per fisher per day – see 'Additional rules and information'
10
Greenlip/brownlip abalone (combined) where there are 2 or more licensed fishers on board
Possession Limit
10
Greenlip/brownlip abalone (combined) – see 'Additional rules and information' for details
20
Greenlip/brownlip abalone (combined), in your permanent place of residence
Open seasons

The Southern Zone extends from the Busselton Jetty to the South Australian border.

The West Coast Zone extends from Busselton Jetty to the Greenough River mouth. This incorporates all islands within the zone including Rottnest, Carnac, Garden and Penguin islands.

However, the area open to abalone fishing in this zone is from Busselton Jetty to Moore River only. The area north of Moore River in this zone is closed until further notice (see 'Restrictions').

Fishing is only permitted from 7:00 am – 8:00 am on the following Saturdays:

  • Saturday 9 December 2017
  • Saturday 13 January 2018
  • Saturday 3 February 2018
  • Saturday 17 February 2018

Note: The number of fishing days in this zone may be reduced if in-season monitoring shows it is necessary to protect stocks.

Recreational fishers may not use SCUBA or hookah (surface-supplied compressed air) gear to take abalone in this zone.

Restrictions

Due to low abalone numbers in the Cottesloe area, a closure to recreational abalone fishing was introduced in 2003. This closure runs south of the main Cottesloe groyne to Rous Head and will be in place until abalone stocks have recovered.

You may not take abalone, sea urchin or any other shellfish.

No abalone or sea urchin fishing is permitted north of Moore River until further notice, due to high abalone mortality resulting from high water temperatures.

The closed zone includes part of the West Coast Zone (the area north of Moore River) and the whole Northern Zone, which runs from Greenough River mouth to the Northern Territory border.

Recreational fishing for abalone and sea urchin is not permitted in this area.

Licences

You must have a licence to fish for abalone and be prepared to produce it if required.

Apply for a new licence or renew an existing licence online

Alternatively, application forms are available from Department of Fisheries offices and online.

Note: You don’t need a licence to fish for sea urchin. However, if you are using a powered boat to reach your fishing spot, you will need a Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence. 

Additional rules and information

Size limits allow fish to reach maturity to complete their breeding cycle. Measure all your fish and return undersize or excess fish alive to the water.

Bag limits assist in sharing the resource and contribute to the sustainable management of the State’s fish stocks.

A daily bag limit is the maximum number of fish that you may take or bring onto land in any 24-hour period, from midnight to midnight (except from midday to midday for marron, prawns and when recreational netting).

For rules about fish kept and stored beyond 24 hours, see 'Possession limit' for details.

Individual species daily bag limit

This is the maximum number of an individual species that you may take within your total mixed species daily bag limit.

For demersal finish, large pelagic finish and nearshore/esturarine finish, an individual daily bag limit for a group of species applies to each of the individual species in that group. 

For example, emperors (except blue-lined emperor) have an individual daily bag limit of three in all bioregions except the West Coast. They are also within a mixed species daily bag limit of five (across all demersal finfish for these bioregions).

  • 5 fish = 3 red-throat emperor (species has an individual species bag limit of 3) and 2 spangled emperor
    OR
  • 5 fish = 3 spangled emperor (species has an individual species bag limit of 3) and 2 red-throat emperor.

Mixed species daily bag limit

This is the combined maximum number of fish of any species within one category (such as demersal, large pelagic, nearshore/estuarine) that you may take.

For example, demersal finfish in the West Coast Bioregion has a total mixed bag limit of two fish:

Within the mixed daily bag limit, you cannot exceed the stated individual species daily bag limit. For example, you may only take a maximum of one coral trout per day.

For freshwater finfish, baitfish, crustceans, molluscs and other invertebrates - where species are displayed together as a group, rock lobsters for example - the bag limit applies to the group as a whole.

To protect fish and their habitats in key environments, some activities are banned. In particular you are not allowed to:

  • use fish traps or ‘pots’ of any kind (except lobster pots and octopus trigger traps – see the website for further information);
  • use dredges;
  • obstruct any bay, inlet, river, creek or any tidal or inland waters so that fish are enclosed, left stranded, destroyed or wasted;
  • be in possession of explosives or noxious substances (for example, fish poisons);
  • ‘jag’ (deliberately foul-hook) fish;
  • use commercial fishing gear of any kind;
  • use set-lines; or
  • attach fish hooks to lobster pots, anchors and anchor lines or moorings.

Note: Fishing tackle stores may carry gear that does not meet WA legal requirements. In particular, the use of crab traps, ‘opera house’ traps and bait jigs with more than three hooks are illegal in WA waters. Please check before you make a purchase.

No boat limit applies to Roe's abalone.

A maximum of 5 greenlip/brownlip abalone (combined) per fisher per day (or 10 where there are 2 or more licensed fishers on board) may be carried on a boat.

Recreational fishers are only permitted to collect abalone and sea urchin for themselves and not for other people, even if they are part of the same group. 

To remove abalone, insert a flat blade under the edge of the abalone and lift with a quick, strong flick.

Carefully count your catch; the bag limit is strictly enforced to protect breeding stocks, so stop fishing once you reach your limit. Taking more abalone and discarding them later puts pressure on the abalone population because discarded animals will probably die. Undersize abalone left undisturbed on the reef can grow larger for next year's season.

Shucking

Take your catch home to clean it. 

Removing abalone from their shells (shucking) is not permitted within 200 metres of the high-water mark so that abalone remains don’t spoil the beach for others or attract stingrays and other marine foragers.

Abalone cannot be shucked at sea and must be left in their shells so their size can be checked. 

Bait ban

The use of abalone meat or any abalone material as fishing bait is prohibited and significant fines apply. This is a biosecurity measure to reduce the risk of introducing abalone diseases and pathogens such as abalone viral ganglioneuritis into WA waters. 

The FishWatch phone line provides a quick and easy way to report sightings or evidence of:

  • illegal fishing;
  • aquatic pests; and
  • aquatic diseases (including fish kills).

Illegal fishing could include someone netting in the river, exceeding their bag or possession limits, taking undersize fish, fishing in a closed area, having more fishing gear in the water than they should or illegally selling recreationally caught fish.

Before you call, note:

  • How many people you saw.
  • Who they were. Did you hear/know any of their names?
  • What they were doing.
  • Where it happened; the nearest known landmark or intersection of the closest road.
  • What type of equipment, cars or boats, registration numbers and descriptions.
  • When it happened: time and date. Is it something that is happening right now, while you are making a report, or was it something you observed previously?

Your reports are treated in strict confidence. We recommend you do not approach anyone you think is involved in illegal activity relating to fish or fishing.

If you don’t wish to contact us through FishWatch you can pass information to your local Fisheries office or to Fisheries Officers.

Call FishWatch now - 1800 815 507.

Interfering with another person's fishing gear or catch, selling recreationally caught fish and other similar offences can result in penalties of up to $400,000, imprisonment for four years and loss of boats, vehicles and equipment.

Offenders may also lose the privilege of engaging in a licensed fishing activity.

All edible molluscs (except oysters) must be landed whole and kept in the shell until you are more than 200 metres inland from the high water mark.

Note: It is illegal to use abalone as bait due to the risk of spreading disease.

Different type of marine protected areas exist in WA waters (to three nautical miles off the coast) and special fishing rules apply.

Information about marine protected areas is provided through our location search – click on the 'View map' link at the top of this page or search for your location.

Marine protected areas include marine reserves, fish habitat protection areas and other fishing closures such as wreck sites. Most of these areas are subject to additional rules.

Marine reserves, which include marine nature reserves, marine parks and marine management areas, are managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

In addition to marine reserves, there are a number of fish habitat protection areas and other closed areas managed by the Department of Fisheries.

Measure each abalone across the widest part of its shell using an abalone gauge, available from tackle shops. Measuring with anything else, such as a mark on a screwdriver, can lead to mistakes.

You are legally required to measure each abalone as you collect it and, if it is undersize, immediately and carefully replace it on the reef before you take your next abalone.

To increase their survival rate, measure each abalone before you take it off the reef, if possible. 

Measuring Abalone

This means the maximum number of abalone you may have in your possession, even if you did not take them all from the sea on the same day.

A possession limit of 20 Roe’s and 10 greenlip/brownlip abalone (combined) applies everywhere except in your permanent place of residence.

The maximum number of abalone a person may have at their permanent place of residence is 80 Roe’s abalone and 20 greenlip/brownlip abalone (combined).