Eager fishers got an early start on Thursday to have their first shot at this season’s recreational rock lobster catch — but they are finding it hard to meet their new increased bag limits.
Sportsmarine boat centre manager Russell Dawson said he had heard mixed reports from the start of the season.
“Generally speaking, it looks like people are having to work hard to get their crays,” he said.
“It seems not a great deal of people are getting their bag limits.”
Fishermen Aven Hastie and Leon Kremer got on the water at 5.30am on Thursday and returned three hours later with a prize catch, one of the first crayfish of the recreational season caught off Bunbury.
Mr Kremer said he would continue fishing for rock lobster throughout the season when there were good conditions.
“Today it wasn’t good, but wasn’t bad — visibility was average,” he said.
A Department of Fisheries spokesman said anecdotal evidence indicated conditions for the season so far had been good but catches had been low.
He said it looked as if divers had been more successful than fishers with pots.
Changes to State Government regulations now apply.
The new rules include an increase in the individual bag limit from six to eight rock lobsters per person, a decrease in the size of escape gaps on pots and an increase from two to three in the number of licensed fishers who can operate from a boat.
The allocation for the season —which runs until June 30 next year — is 322 tonnes.