An offshore area near Portland has been closed to all abalone and rock lobster fishing after Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis (AVG) was detected in two abalone at Point Danger.

Local Fisheries Officers this week collected dead abalone washed up on the beach at Point Danger, south of Portland. The abalone were sent for testing at AgriBio and confirmed as being positive for AVG. The last detection of virus in the area was in June 2022.

AVG is a virus which affects the nervous system of abalone and results in the foot curling up, swelling of the mouth, leading to weakness and in most cases death. There are no effects of AVG on human health.

In response, the VFA has introduced a new control area, via Fisheries Notice, closing a section of coastline and water to all recreational and commercial abalone fishing, rock lobster fishing, and all recreational and commercial netting, including the use of hoop nets, until 15 November 2023. The area stretches south from Portland Harbour to west of Cape Sir William Grant, including Lawrence Rocks.

In addition, an area is closed to all forms of recreational and commercial fishing within 500 metres of the Yumbah abalone farm at Narrawong to minimise the risk of disease transfer from the marine environment into the farm. The closure will also remain in effect until 15 November 2023.

An existing abalone fishing closure area also remains in place to help stocks recover from the previous outbreak, stretching west from Point Danger to Cape Bridgewater. Both affected abalone found this week were within this existing zone.

More information on the closed areas, including maps, and advice on how to minimise the potential spread of AVG, can be found at

Victorian Fisheries Authority CEO Travis Dowling said the support of local fishers had been appreciated and commercial divers were assisting in determining the spread of this latest incident through initial monitoring dives. These dives have not detected further abalone deaths.

“We’ve worked with local fishers since the 2021 outbreak and their support has been invaluable in responding to and managing AVG,” Mr Dowling said.

“While we encourage everyone to thoroughly clean their gear and boat, there are still great fishing opportunities to be had in the south-west for tuna, snapper and kingfish as the weather warms.”

The VFA will continue to monitor the situation and revise fishing restrictions where necessary in accordance with the latest information.

Across Victoria, you cannot:

  • Use abalone, including gut as bait
  • Dispose of abalone shell or gut back into the ocean. You must use your rubbish bin for disposal.

People should report any unusual illness they see to the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

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