Application to the Department of the Environment, Water,
Heritage and the Arts for the re-assessment of the Victorian
3.3.1. Description of the fishery Catch is permitted using diving equipment.
Target species Recreational fishers typically use dive gear similar
Target catch consists of blacklip abalone (Haliotis to commercial fishers, but a mixture of hookah
rubra) and greenlip abalone (Haliotis vaevigata). systems, scuba diving equipment and snorkel (free
diving) are used. Recreational fishing is conducted
both from the shore and recreational fishing
See Section 2.1.8 on ‘protected aquatic biota’.
Commercial fishers may only take abalone.
Management arrangements employed in the
Relevant no take species for recreational fishers
include ‘syngnathids’ (pipe fish, sea dragons and The management arrangements for the fishery are
sea horses). outlined in the Fisheries Regulations and the
Fishing area(s) Abalone Fisheries Management Plan (NRE 2002).
Persons are not permitted to fish for abalone in:
The commercial fishery is divided into three zones.
The eastern zone includes all Victorian waters east the inter-tidal zone (waters less than two
of longitude 148 East (Lakes Entrance). The meters deep) between Thompson Creek at
western zone includes all Victorian waters west of Breamlea and Arch Rock at Venus Bay
longitude 142 31‘ East (Hopkins River mouth). (including Port Phillip and Western Port)
The central zone includes all Victorian waters Marine National Parks and Marine
between 142 31‘ East and 148 East (see Figure 1). Sanctuaries.
Recreational fishery The take of greenlip abalone in Port Phillip Bay is
Recreational fishing occurs in all costal waters, but also banned (for both recreational and commercial
a Central Victorian Waters zone exists between fishers).
longitude 143 27’ 36” East (mouth of the Aire Commercial fishery
River near Cape Otway) and 145 53’ 35” East, 38 The commercial fishing quota and licensing period
50’ 19” South (north-western part of Arch Rock in runs between 1 April and 31 March each year. The
Venus Bay) where the eastern boundary is a line commercial fishery is managed under a quota
running due west from the most north-western management system. An Abalone Fishery Access
part of Arch Rock to the seaward limit of State Licence (AFAL) is required to take abalone for sale
waters. or to use or possess commercial abalone
equipment and licences must be renewed
annually. Commercial effort and access to the
fishery is restricted by limiting the number of
commercial fishing licences to 71 (23 in the eastern
zone, 34 in the central zone and 14 in the western
In addition to an AFAL, the quota management
system requires commercial fishers to hold ITQ
Figure 1. Victorian commercial abalone fishery units to take commercial quantities of abalone. A
set amount of quota units are available in each
Fishing methods commercial fishing zone and cannot be transferred
Commercial between zones. Each quota unit represents the
Catch is permitted using commercial abalone right to take a proportion of the overall quota for
diving equipment. Commercial divers that specific zone. There are separate quota units
predominately use surface supply air (hookah for blacklip and greenlip abalone. Greenlip
system) from small, high speed fishing boats. abalone quota units have only been allocated in the
western and central fishing zones as the eastern
To protect undersize abalone from potential
zone does not have a viable commercial greenlip
damage, divers must use a blunt instrument to
remove abalone from the reef, and are not
permitted to use knives, screwdrivers or any sharp The Fisheries Act 1995 was amended in 2006 to
instrument that could damage the abalone. provide for the separation of abalone quota units
from the AFAL which came into effect prior to the shucked abalone, in, under or on Victorian
2006-07 fishing season. Previously, quota units waters. Abalone can only be shucked at the
were evenly disbursed between licence holders place of consumption
and unused (unfished) quota units could be Only take abalone between sunrise and sunset
transferred to other AFAL holders temporarily (i.e. daylight hours)
within a given quota period. Quota units can now
be permanently transferred to other AFAL licence Allocation between sectors
holders or to external investors that do not hold an There is no formal allocation between the fishing
AFAL. AFAL holders are still required to hold a sectors. Allocation is currently influenced through
minimum of 5 blacklip abalone quota units at all recreational bag limits and access restrictions.
times. These quota units can still be temporarily Fishery accreditation
transferred if not utilised. The management arrangements for the abalone
Investors (quota holders without an AFAL) can fishery are accredited under the Commonwealth
contract nominated operators to harvest the EPBC Act and the fishery has been granted an
abalone on their behalf. export exemption until August 2008. A progress
report on the assessment recommendations is
Total Allowable Catch provided in
Quota units entitle the operator to take a certain
percentage of the TACC. The TACC is determined
annually for blacklip and greenlip abalone stocks
in each commercial fishing zone, and the process
used is outlined in the Abalone Fisheries
Management Plan (NRE 2002). The annual TACC
for each zone is applied to the quota units in that
zone to determine the available weight of catch
that can be taken by AFAL licence holders for the
To enhance compliance under the quota
management system, a Fish Receiver Abalone
Licence (FRAL) is required to process abalone in
Victoria. Most of the commercial processors are
located in Melbourne and other coastal centres
such as Mallacoota and Port Fairy. FRAL holders
can receive abalone from Victorian commercial
divers as well as interstate abalone and
A RFL is required to take abalone in the
recreational fishery (some exemptions apply).
Recreational fishing is also subject to a range of
additional input and output controls. In all parts of
Victoria the recreational bag limit for abalone is
five, and only two of the five can be greenlip
There is a permanent ban on the taking of all
abalone species from Central Victorian Waters,
except for 60 nominated days each year.
A range of size limits are in place to protect
breeding stocks, and recreational divers must:
Carry a measuring device when fishing for
Not shuck abalone (remove the shell), or be in
possession of shucked abalone, or land
Table 2. incorporated into the survey design means this
estimate is not reliable.
Commercial catch trend
Western Zone – Decreasing
Central Zone – Decreasing
Eastern Zone – Stable
The decreasing catch trends have led to reductions
in the TACC in the western and central zones,
which were implemented in consultation with the
commercial fishing industry to manage reductions
in abalone stocks caused through the combined
impacts of disease and recent lower production
capacity on some reef structures in comparison to
their historical productive capacities.
3.3.2. Catch data
Total catch of target species
As no reliable estimate of the recreational catch is
available, the total catch is unknown.
Commercial catch of target species
The 2007-08 (quota year) TACC of 1174.2 tonnes
was fully caught. The breakdown of the TACC into
fishing zones is outlined in Table 1.
Table 1. Abalone fishery TACC 2007-08
(quota year) in tonnes
Zone Blacklip Greenlip
Western 110 4.2
Central 570 0
Eastern 490 0
TOTAL 1170 4.2
Incidental commercial catch
The take of abalone in other commercial Victorian
fisheries is not permitted.
There is no reliable estimate of the recreational
catch of abalone in 2006/07. DPI considers
recreational catch to be low compared to the
commercial catch. The recreational catch was
greatest in the central zone due to the proximity of
this area to the large population in Melbourne.
Recent changes to fishing regulations have
restricted this catch
The last estimate of recreational catch of abalone
was undertaken between May 2000 and April 2001
in the National Recreational and Indigenous
Fishing Survey (Henry and Lyle 2003). This
estimate was 10,355 animals, weighing 3.1 tonnes.
The low number of recreational abalone fishers
The combined TACC for the state over the last 5 It is expected that management of the fishery will
quota years are shown in Figure 2, incorporating a become even more spatially focussed, allowing
further reduction in the current 2008-09 quota year. more refined and responsive management over
time. Regulation of the LMLs is required at
Commercial abalone TACC for pervious 5 quota seasons
Abalone viral ganglioneuritis (AVG)
The recent outbreak of AVG has impacted the
stock biomass in the western and central zones.
The disease causes inflammation of the nervous
tissue, resulting in curling of the foot and swelling
of the mouth, and often results in mortality and
increased exposure to predation.
200 The disease was found in infected populations of
2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09
wild abalone in the western zone on reefs near
Season Port Fairy in May 2006, and has been responsible
for significant mortalities amongst abalone
Figure 2. Reductions to the total abalone fishery populations in the southwest region. The disease
TACC over the past five quota years has spread to the east and west direction, and is
Effort trend now impacting on the central fishing zone. At the
Unknown time of writing, the virus has been confirmed as far
east as White Cliffs near Johanna, and west as far
Issues regarding the non-standardised recording of as Discovery Bay Marine Park.
effort in log books have resulted in fishing effort
data being unreliable. Effort is not used to manage Please visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/abalonedisease
the abalone fishery. for more information on the virus.
Catch rates 3.3.3 Fisheries Management
Recent management changes
Due to problems with standardisation of reported Commercial fishery
fishing effort, an assessment of catch rates is not A trial central zone greenlip abalone fishery has
possible. In addition, the voluntary adoption of been established for the 2008-09 fishing season,
larger minimum size limits imposed by with an initial TACC of 3.4 tonnes (100 kg per
commercial divers is likely to have biased and unit). Commercial divers have voluntarily
skewed catch rate trends. Catch rates are not used increased the minimum legal length of greenlip
to manage the abalone fishery. abalone to 145 mm.
Total catch of non-target byproduct and bycatch Changes to fishery management arrangements
species have been put in place in response to the abalone
Due to the selective harvesting methods used in virus. In the western zone, virus affected reefs
the abalone fishery, there is no bycatch or have been closed to commercial fishing, the LML
byproduct species recorded. for blacklip abalone has been increased from 120
mm to 130 mm. A further area between The Crags
and Killarney has also been closed to both
The serial depletion of abalone stocks in the central
recreational and commercial abalone fishers.
and western zones has prompted a shift toward
finer-scale spatial management and the The TACC in the central zone in 2007-08 was
development of regions within established fishing reduced by 50 tonnes at the request of industry, in
zones. anticipation of the impacts from AVG.
Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and Codes In consultation with the Victorian Abalone Divers
of Practice (COPs) have been developed, with Association, DPI is currently developing an
fishing zones being separated into individually undersize abalone permit for Cape Liptrap. A
recognised reef codes. Through a continuation of similar permit has been in place for Julia Reef in
voluntary and regulated measures, each reef code the western zone that is currently in its third
has been allocated its own quota and an season of operation. Such permits can reduce
appropriate legal minimum length (LML). commercial fishing pressure in some areas by
allowing commercial divers to access abalone
below the regulated LML in areas where abalone recreational dive clubs/associations, commercial
are known to grow slowly. licence and quota unit holders and other interested
parties. The DPI has established a number of
A commercial permit has been developed to allow
MOUs with the commercial industry to reduce the
divers to harvest abalone from Discovery Bay and
need to introduce further formal regulations. The
Julia reef to encourage divers to fish traditionally
MOUs have proven to be an effective mechanism
under–utilised fishing grounds.
to allow for appropriate distribution of commercial
Illegal catch fishing effort across reef structures and have
Regulations were changed for the central Victorian encouraged greater stewardship by the
waters in 2005 to reduce illegal commercial take of commercial industry.
abalone by thieves posing as recreational fishers.
Performance of the fishery
The changes included a 60 day per year
The performance measures, reference points and
recreational fishing season in Central Victorian
management triggers are outlined in the Abalone
Fishery Management Plan (NRE 2002).
In 2006, the state-wide daily bag limit was reduced
A key performance indicator includes the
to five abalone per day. This lower limit was
requirement for mature biomass and annual catch
introduced to manage increased recreational
of the mature biomass to remain at the level
fishing pressure in waters around the state.
estimated in 2000 (B2000) with a 70% confidence
Consultation processes level (30% risk).
Under Victoria’s current statutory consultative
The eastern zone biomass estimate for the 2007-08
arrangements, a number of consultative
season was above B2000 and indicated a slight
requirements regarding the abalone fishery are
increase in stock abundance. As a result the TACC
stipulated in the Fisheries Act 1995, and the
has remained constant in the eastern zone for the
Victorian Abalone Fishery Management Plan (NRE
last five years.
The central zone biomass estimate for the 2007-08
The Fisheries Co-Management Council (FCC) and
season indicates a reduction in the mature biomass
the Abalone Fisheries Committee provide
from B2000 that was attributed to a combination of
expertise based advice on issues relating to the
impacts from the AVG virus in the western end of
setting of TACC.
the central zone and recent reduced catches on the
Formal consultation with the FCC and the Abalone Mornington Peninsula. As a result TACC has been
Fisheries Committee is required in setting the reduced over the last two quota periods.
TACC, establishing Fisheries Notices, and in
The modelling approach for the TACC setting
making changes to other Regulations and levies.
process cannot be used to manage stocks following
Advice regarding abalone management decisions the large, one off mortality event associated with
is also obtained from a number of other sources. AVG in the western zone. The TACC setting
The DPI has established an Abalone Fishery process has been changed to a reef-by-reef based
Management Advisory Team (AbFMAT) including approach, until further research is conducted to
key Fisheries Victoria field staff, the senior abalone validate an alternative approach. The remaining
research scientist, and fishery managers. The western zone TACC reflects the productive
abalone AbFMAT provides advice to the Executive capacity of the reef structures unaffected by AVG.
Director of Fisheries Victoria on management
Reef code triggers
strategies for the fishery.
A key trigger point relevant to the performance of
The Abalone Fisheries Assessment Group the fishery requires annual catch for reef codes to
(ABFAG) was formed to bring scientists, resource fall between the known extremes of the catch
users and fishery managers together to consider range (within upper and lower limit of catches) of
technical and scientific information, to produce an those reported between 1988 and 2000. The trigger
annual Abalone Fishery Assessment Report and to points for a number of reef codes have been
provide other relevant scientific and technical reached in all zones of the fishery.
advice relevant to the management of the abalone
The DPI, in consultation with industry, has
encouraged the distribution of fishing effort across
In addition, DPI regularly liaises with the relevant reef complexes across the fishing zones. The
peak bodies and other industry associations, introduction of DIVERWEB (a web-based
importation tool) has given divers the ability to patrols) is connected with compliance in the
track abalone catches in real time against catch abalone fishery. Examples of successful activities
caps for each reef code. conducted in 2006/07 included operations
codenamed Wave and Algebra.
The Abalone Fishery Committee of the FCC
considers and reports on each triggered reef code. Operation Wave targeted a NSW based abalone
Recently the Committee recommended a TACC thief who had prior convictions in four
reduction in the central zone to account for reef jurisdictions. He was subject to a court imposed
codes on the Mornington Peninsula that have not control order not to take or possess abalone.
reached traditional harvest levels and remain Following the successful operation, he was
below trigger points. convicted of trafficking abalone and sentenced to
17 months imprisonment, and his car was
The AVG outbreak has also prompted substantial
reef code triggering as commercial fishing effort is
distributed away from reef codes with confirmed Operation Algebra targeted a NSW based abalone
AVG outbreaks, which has resulted in substantial thief who was arrested at Williamstown. He spent
reductions in TACC. 13 months on remand and pleaded guilty to
trafficking abalone. He was convicted and
sentenced to 30 months imprisonment and ordered
The abalone fishery is one of the most intensively
to pay $44,000 in compensation. The court also
managed fisheries in Australia. It receives the
imposed a lifetime order restricting him from
highest level of compliance attention in Victoria,
being in proximity of marine waters and
and most of the compliance work done is now
intelligence based. The most common criminal
offence detected is unlicensed take for commercial Cross-jurisdictional management arrangements
sale, and this will continue to be the number one There are commercial abalone fisheries in Victoria,
priority for compliance staff into the future. South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania,
and cross-jurisdictional management
The medium to high compliance risks identified in
arrangements that have been put in place to
the risk assessment for the abalone fishery are:
accommodate the different jurisdictions.
Large-scale organised illegal harvest leading to
reduction in stock abundance Joint enforcement and compliance operations are
held between fisheries officers across jurisdictions
Multiple tripping by poachers posing as
and Victorian Officers can be authorised to operate
recreational fishers leading to reduction in
stock abundance. between adjoining State’s waters.
Routine Inspections Victoria permits the receiving of abalone landed in
other jurisdictions, which is managed under the
Fisheries Officers have regular contact with
commercial fishers during the course of fishing for
and landing harvested abalone, and inspect Boat-launching and lending permits in South
around 30,000 recreational anglers each year in Australia were recently revoked as a management
Victoria (some of these contacts include response to the AVG disease outbreak in Victoria.
inspections of recreational divers involved in
fishing for abalone). Routine contacts provide Management review processes
valuable intelligence, which supplements other A review of the existing Abalone Fishery
intelligence gathering activities. This can lead to Management Plan in 2007 is currently being
tactical patrols and targeted operations against conducted (DPI 2007).
persons believed to be involved in ongoing illegal Threat abatement and recovery plans
activity. Not applicable
Targeted Operations Domestic and international agreements
Tactical patrols and targeted operations that detect It is a Commonwealth Government requirement
illegal fishing often result in vessel and vehicle that all interactions with protected species are
seizures, as well as forfeiture of diving gear and reported in any fishery that has export
fishing equipment. Penalties imposed by courts accreditation under the EPBC Act. The DPI
have been substantial in some instances. introduced a Protected Species Action Plan
The DPI estimates that more than 40% of tactical (November 2007) for monitoring and reporting
compliance work conducted by fisheries officers in interactions with protected species.
coastal regions (including covert and uniformed
3.3.4. Research and Monitoring The FRDC and DPI are co-funding a research
Research completed project to investigate the ecological effects of
The Victorian abalone stocks are among a small abalone fishing.
number of worldwide stocks that consistently Future research and monitoring
yield sustainable commercial harvests. The majority of future research is focussing on
Previous assessments for the fishery have focussed investigating AVG. A national approach and work
on developing long-term stable abundance indices plan is being prepared for AVG related research
that have been estimated using fishery- and management, and is focussing on four priority
independent surveys together with long-term areas:
commercial harvest data controlled by a steady Epidemiology of the disease
TACC. Stock sustainability to ensure abalone now and
in the future
Commercial catch and effort is monitored using Biosecurity and reducing the risk of spread
daily catch logs completed by all AFAL holders. Communication to increase community,
Under the quota management system, divers stakeholder and inter-government
report the weight, origin, and other relevant details understanding and awareness.
of their catch, which provides up-to-date
information to monitor the status of abalone stocks 3.3.5. Status of target stock
at each reef code. This information is essential to Stock assessments
ensure that fishing effort is distributed evenly Stock assessments are completed annually for each
across each zone. of the three zones and these are used as the basis
Independent monitoring of abalone stocks is for setting the TACC.
undertaken annually by DPI at approximately 200 The 2007/08 abalone stock assessment (not
survey sites along the Victorian coastline. The published) modelled estimates of performance of
current abalone fishery monitoring program is also current mature biomass (Bcurrent year /B2000) and
being adapted to analyse and provide an expected long range mature biomass (B2021/B2000).
indication of AVG impact. Abalone samples are The modelling included estimated values for
being collected across the state to be tested using recreational and illegal unreported and
the AVG polymerase chain reaction (PCR) unregulated (IUU) catches.
diagnostic test currently being developed (see
below). The impacts of the abalone virus has resulted in
modelling of the western zone stocks being
Collaborative research unreliable.
A number of collaborative research projects are
currently being undertaken, with the majority Resource issues
investigating the recent outbreak of AVG. The recent outbreak of AVG has highlighted the
importance of abalone health for stocks across
The DPI and the Australian Animal Health Australia. Harvesting strategies have been
Laboratory have collaborated to develop a developed in areas where AVG has been
diagnostic PCR test. confirmed to allow the stocks to recover from the
Industry and DPI are also co-investing in a FRDC impacts of disease. These strategies include
project investigating the recovery of abalone stocks increased size limits, TACC reductions and permit
post-virus in south-west Victoria. The project aims fishing arrangements.
to asses the status of stocks that have been closed Serial depletion of localised abalone population
to commercial and recreational fishing to facilitate has been a concern for the productivity of abalone
stock rebuilding and provide a risk based decision fishing in all three fishing zones. Reef closures and
matrix to inform future management decisions, increases in size limits have been used, and have
including the setting of TACCs. included both voluntarily and regulated
Industry, FRDC, DPI and Melbourne University restrictions to distribute effort and reduce fishing
are also contributing to a project investigating fine pressure in areas of risk.
scale spatial management options in collaboration Stock recovery strategies
with New South Wales and South Australia. A number of stock recovery strategies are
currently in place for the abalone fishery.
When a trigger reference point is reached the waters are not well understood, but climatic
Abalone Fishery Committee reviews the situation factors influencing water temperature, as well as
and recommends actions in the form of: wind, ocean currents/upwellings that affect larval
closely observing the triggered reef for another dispersal are thought to play a role.
investigating the stock status 3.3.8. Social and economic values of
fishing and fishery governance
adjust the TACC and/or LML to restore the
Other actions as appropriate to achieve
Only limited social data is available.
Area closures (both voluntary and regulated) have
In 2006/07, there were 71 Abalone Fishery Access
also been used in the central and western zone to
Licence holders, with 64 active divers. The fishery
allow stocks to rebuild. This strategy has been
also supports local coastal towns and directly
widely used in instances where stocks have been
employs deckhands and crew who assist
affected by AVG.
commercial divers. In addition 15 licensed abalone
receiving businesses operate as part of the onshore
3.3.6. Protected species processing industry (see further details in
Interactions with protected species economic analysis).
No known interactions.
Interaction reduction strategies Compared to the wider recreational fishing
Not required. community in Victoria, only a small number of
recreational fishers engage in recreational diving
3.3.7. Ecosystem effects including for abalone. Recent changes in recreational abalone
the effects of fishing fishing regulations reduced the number of days
Ecological risk assessments available for the recreational harvest of abalone in
An ERA has been completed for the abalone the central zone to 60 days per year. This impacted
fishery in 2002 (DPI unpublished document). The on recreational fishers, but these measures were
risk assessment highlighted that the highest risk to required to ensure the sustainable management of
the fishery was serial depletion of both greenlip the abalone fishery in Victoria.
and blacklip abalone.
The identified risks were considered by the The wholesale market value of abalone for the
Victorian Abalone Fishery Management Plan 2006-07 fishing season was $46 million,
Steering Committee and appropriate management representing 25% of Australia’s total abalone wild
actions are being developed for the revised catch. The majority of commercially caught
Abalone Fishery Management Plan. abalone is exported.
Fishery impacts on the ecosystem A formal analysis of the economic impact of the
Impacts are minimal because abalone fishing does Victorian abalone harvesting and processing
not result in bycatch and only generates limited industries was conducted in 2001-02 (DPI 2004).
physical habitat damage. This report determined that the annual
contribution of the abalone fishery to Victorian
To keep damage to the ecosystem at a minimum, gross State product was between $81 and $104
divers are encouraged to spread fishing effort over million. The industry contributed a total of 1,100
multiple reefs and to comply with the LMLs to direct and indirect employment positions
protect maturing stocks. (equating to 835 fulltime equivalent positions).
Ecological impact reduction strategies Recreational fishing generates economic benefits
No formal strategies are required. (i.e. use of boats, purchasing of fishing equipment
External (non fishing) impacts on the ecosystem and tourism), but the proportion of such benefits
and critical fish habitats attributable specifically to abalone diving is
The impact of AVG has been highlighted unknown.
elsewhere in this report.
Non-fishing factors influencing the recruitment
and settlement of juvenile abalone in Victorian
Target catch/effort range
Fishery catch and effort in the commercial fishery
is controlled by the limited number of access
licences and through the quota management
Participation in the recreational fishing sector is
not limited (other than by requirement for non-
exempt persons to have a valid Recreational
Fishing Licence). Size limits, closures and bag and
possession limits also apply.
New management initiatives
The DPI is currently preparing a revised Abalone
Fishery Management Plan.
Department of Natural Resources and
Environment. (2002). Victorian Abalone Fishery
Management Plan. Melbourne.
DPI (2004). The economic impact of the Victorian
abalone harvesting and processing industry: 2001 –
02. Economic Impact Report no 1. DPI, Melbourne.
DPI (2007). Review of the Victorian Abalone
Fishery Management Plan. DPI, Melbourne.
Henry, G.W. and Lyle, J.M. eds (2003). The
National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing
Survey. FRDC Project No. 99/158. NSW Fisheries
Final Report Series No. 48. NSW Fisheries,
Fishery status report 2008
Table 2. Progress in implementing abalone fishery assessment recommendations
1. Fisheries Victoria should inform Environment Ongoing
Australia (now known as the Australian The most recent significant changes were to recreational abalone
Government Department of the Environment, fishing regulations in September 2005, with the creation of a
Water, Heritage and the Arts- DEWHA) of any recreational fishing closure in central Victorian waters (open 60
future changes to the management regime of the days/year) and a bag limit reduction for central Victorian waters from
Victorian Abalone Fishery. 10 to 5. Also an area closure for greenlip abalone was introduced in
Port Phillip Bay.
A state wide reduction to the bag limit from 10 to 5 was introduced
on 1 September 2006.
Management changes to reduce the impact of AVG have included
area closures, reduced TACC, increases in size limits and the
introduction of Biosecurity protocols.
COPs and MOUs have been used to guide commercial diver’s
behaviour and to reduce the risk of serial depletion across the fishery.
2. Abalone Fishery Committee to report on the Ongoing
performance of the fishery against fishery This report summarises the annual abalone fishery assessment report.
objectives, performance indicators and reference The 2007/08 abalone stock assessment modelled estimates of
points as part of the annual Fishery Assessment performance of current mature biomass (Bcurrent year /B2000) and expected
Report process. long range mature biomass (B2021/B2000).
3. Fisheries Victoria to consult with other fishery In progress
agencies on the development and implementation All State abalone fishery managers attended an informal national
of appropriate biological parameters and reference workshop in May 2005. DPI hosted 3 national abalone health
points for abalone harvesting, and pursue with scientific forums aimed at discussing option for abalone health and
these agencies a national process for developing, management across Australia.
adopting and reviewing these indicators, along Victoria has developed a national ‘length based’ stock assessment
with periodic review of respective abalone stock model for use by other States to promote complimentary data
assessment processes. collection and modelling.
A FRDC project on industry-based reef assessments will complement
zonal assessments conducted by the States.
Revision of current reference points for abalone harvesting is being
undertaken as part of the management plan review process. DPI will
engage the other abalone producing States to identify consistent and
4. Abalone Fishery Committee to give priority to Complete
defining the target biomass to produce the The DPI defines BMSY as part of the annual fishery assessment and
ecologically sustainable yield from the fishery reporting process.
within 3 years and review this estimate within
the context of the annual stock assessment
Fishery status report 2008
5. Fisheries Victoria to ensure reliable growth Ongoing
data across the various regions of the fishery is Further DPI FRB tagging work is planned for the next 3 years. In
obtained as a high priority to ensure the addition, the current FRDC project is assessing the fecundity of
effectiveness of existing management controls abalone throughout Victorian waters.
and continued sustainability of abalone stocks.
The introduction of undersize permits for commercial operators in
the western and central zones has allowed access to under utilised
abalone stock and may help to relieve commercial fishing pressure in
traditional fishing areas.
The DPI has provided commercial permit access to the western zone
operators for underutilised reef codes in order to relieve pressure in
traditional fishing areas and determine abalone populations across
the western zone.
All three commercial zones utilised abalone data loggers to determine
catch composition of abalone. This information is used extensively to
determine appropriate size limit for each area.
6. Fisheries Victoria to investigate and establish, Ongoing
over the next 3 years, appropriate decision rules, Through the use of co-operative tools such as industry-government
relevant to the regional-scale or sub-zonal MOUs, DPI has significantly improved spatial management in the
management, to prevent the potential serial fishery.
depletion of abalone stocks.
Industry has led increased self-management with zonal reef
assessments, higher voluntary size limits and voluntary reef closures.
FRDC has funded a project on industry-based reef assessments to
address this recommendation. In addition FRDC has funded a reef
scale modelling project to determine harvesting or rebuilding levels
for reef structures affected by AVG.
The DPI has developed a website for divers to view real time catches
on reefs to encourage dispersion of fishing effort.
Fisheries Notices and permits have been issued in the central and
western zones to distribute fishing effort to under–utilised reef
complexes, aimed at reducing the risk of serial depletion in heavily
Revised decision rules and a management response to deal with
disease and large mortality events are being developed as part of the
revision of the abalone fishery management plan that is due in mid-
7. Fisheries Victoria to review within 3 years the Complete
effectiveness of beach weighing measures The abalone assessment report was provided to the AbFAG in 2004.
currently being implemented, including any Outcomes suggested no major implications for the stock assessment
implications for the stock assessment process. arising from the introduction of beach weighing.
8. Fisheries Victoria to take actions to improve Ongoing
the reliability of illegal catch estimates and Significant measures have been taken to reduce IUU fishing,
establish and implement measures to achieve the including enhancing compliance resources and amending legislation
reduction targets set out in the Victorian Abalone to make trafficking in commercial quantities an indictable offence.
Fishery Compliance Strategy. The operational capacity for field staff has also been improved.
Compliance strategy targets have been achieved for western and
eastern zones. It is expected that the implementation of changes to
recreational abalone fishing regulations (reducing recreational fishing
access in central zone to 60 days/year) and additional bag limit
reductions will enhance compliance in the Central zone.
Fishery status report 2008
The DPI is also reviewing the current recreational arrangements
through the VAFMP review. The new arrangement will be aimed at
providing broader protection for abalone stocks.
The DPI’s IUU fishing monitoring program is considered best
practice, but ongoing difficulties remain regarding measuring trends
over time. A national docketing system for abalone exports has been
implemented and a new system of tracking the domestic and
international transport of abalone has been implemented to assist in
the monitoring of IUU fishing.
9. Fisheries Victoria, within 12 months, to assess Complete.
the extent of take and level of recreational abalone The outcomes from a review of the recreational fishery were
fishing, with an emphasis on greenlip abalone announced in May 2005.
impacts, and implement additional management
Changes to recreational abalone fishing regulations in September
measures where necessary.
2005 resulted in restricted recreational fishing access to central
Victorian waters (60 days/year) and a bag limit reduction in central
waters from 10 to 5. A closure was also introduced for greenlip
abalone in Port Phillip Bay. A state wide reduction to the recreational
abalone bag limit from 10 to 5 was introduced on 1 September 2006.
10. Fisheries Victoria to ensure a full risk Complete
assessment on the ecological implications, No new reseeding has occurred since 2003.
including disease and genetic impacts, of
Future reseeding is to be assessed in line with DPI’s translocation
artificial stock enhancement of abalone in
policy. A specific translocation protocol has been developed
Victorian reefs is completed before any reseeding
specifically for abalone aquaculture licence holders.
program is undertaken.
A workshop to investigate options to rebuild the abalone stocks
affected by AVG was held in late 2007. The outcome of the workshop
highlighted the need for a risk based approach to any reseeding or
rebuilding proposals. Future studies including cost benefit analysis
have been proposed prior to undertaking any stock rebuilding
11. The Abalone Fishery Committee to give In progress
priority to the development of decision rules A desktop study was completed in 2004. Further research supported
based on an identified list of indicator species to by FRDC is being undertaken by DPI FRB with industry collaboration
provide the basis for monitoring and responding to develop decision rules, based on indicator species, as the basis for
to ecosystem changes. monitoring and responding to ecosystem changes.
The DPI’s FRB is currently undertaking field trials to investigate
ecosystem changes associated with the removal of abalone from reef
Fishery status report 2008