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FISHERIES NOTICE IN PLACE TO PROTECT ABALONE STOCK

The Victorian Fisheries Authority will be restricting diving for abalone and rock lobster around Cape Bridgewater and near Cape Nelson in response to the abalone disease outbreak.

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) CEO Travis Dowling said with Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis (AVG) in the Portland area, a Fisheries Notice now outlines restrictions. 

These restrictions are in place to stop people from accidentally spreading the disease while still allowing other recreational fishing to take place.

The Fisheries Notice incorporates the areas from Whites Beach to Horseshoe Bay and Yellow Rock to Crayfish Bay.

“AVG is a viral disease affecting abalone, usually resulting in death. It can be easily spread across the state’s bays and oceans,” Mr Dowling said. 

“The Fisheries Notice means the VFA will be restricting specific activities in the affected area to stop the spread of AVG. However, this won’t impact recreational anglers wanting to wet a line from their boat, off the bank or going spearfishing,” Mr Dowling said.

In the restricted areas, you cannot:

  • Take abalone or rock lobster
  • Possess abalone or rock lobster
  • Use any equipment made to take abalone or rock lobster, including an abalone tool or hoop net

“There is also a Fisheries Notice in place to protect the abalone aquaculture farm near Portland, prohibiting anyone from diving within 500 metres of the farm’s inlet pipes,” Mr Dowling said.

“If you’re diving anywhere in Victoria and see an abalone that you think is sick, please take the abalone and leave the water immediately. Call the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

“An abalone that is sick has a curling foot and swollen mouth, but the thing divers will notice most is they’re effortless to remove from the rocks. Also, remember to clean all your gear thoroughly after diving and make sure it’s dry before heading back into the water.”

To see the specific areas covered in the Fisheries Notice, visit www.vfa.vic.gov.au/abalonedisease         

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