New crab fishing rules come into force on 1 November

New signs have been going up at popular crab fishing locations in recent weeks, to outline the changes that will apply in the West Coast Bioregion from Thursday 1 November 2007.

The West Coast Bioregion extends from Black Point, east of Augusta, to the Zuytdorp Cliffs, north of Kalbarri.

Department of Fisheries Principal Management Officer Nathan Harrison said crabbing was an extremely popular fishing activity, which was focussed around key population centres such as Perth, Mandurah, Bunbury and Busselton.

“To help reduce pressure on blue swimmer stocks, recreational fishers will now have a new daily bag limit of 10 crabs and boat limit of 20 crabs,” Mr Harrison said.

“The daily bag and boat limits were previously double that amount, but the new limits still provide recreational fishers with the opportunity of getting a good feed and also playing their part in ensuring there will still be blue swimmer crabs in the future.

“Cockburn Sound is currently closed to crab fishing, to give the stocks a chance to recover after several years of poor recruitment, however, other crab fisheries in the West Coast Bioregion will attract a lot of keen fishers over the warmer months of the year.

“On 1 November, the Peel Harvey Inlet will reopen to recreational and commercial crab fishing after a two-month closure, which is part of a range of new management measures designed to help protect blue swimmer stocks in the popular Mandurah waterway.”

Mr Harrison said, in the West Coast Bioregion, crab fishing was also a popular recreational activity in Perth’s Swan River, Bunbury’s Leschenault Estuary, Geographe Bay at Busselton and in coastal marinas throughout the region.

“Because of the concerns that arose over Cockburn Sound and in the Peel Harvey, we must be careful to keep blue swimmer crab stocks sustainable across the entire West Coast Bioregion,” he said.

“The research being done in Cockburn Sound and at Mandurah will help us get vital data and a better overall understanding about blue swimmer crabs.

“Our researchers will be continuing their work in the Peel Harvey, with a major creel survey beginning in November to assess the activity of the wide range of people who fish there.”