Recfishwest delivers early Christmas present for recreational rock lobster fishers

Recreational fishers will benefit from dramatic changes to western rock lobster fishing rules which will come into effect before thestart of this year’s season.

The new rules, which include an increaseof the daily bag limit of rock lobster from six to eight are the result of successful negotiations between Recfishwest and the Department ofFisheries.

In addition, the revised set of ruleswill allow three licence holders to fish for rock lobster from one vessel.

This means that when three or more licence holders are on board, six pots can be pulled each trip and the boat limit increases to 24.

The escape gap sizes on pots willdecrease to 54mm and the ban on diving for rock lobster at the Abrolhos Islands will be lifted.

Recfishwest chief executive officerAndrew Rowland commended the Department for listening to the community and in doing so ensuring fishing recreationally for western rock lobster cancontinue to be an enjoyable and rewarding activity.

This decision highlights the importanceof the consultative arragements between the Department of Fisheries and Refishwest.

Dr Rowland said these changes were inpart due to the fact that during past seasons, recreational fishers have caught less than half of their allocated 5 per cent share of the rock lobsterresource.

“While this revised set of ruleswill make it easier for recreational fishers to catch a feed of western rock lobster, it will also ensure we come closer to catching our share of theresource,” Dr Rowland said