The legal minimum length (LML) of abalone taken by both recreational and commercial divers in Victoria’s south-west has been temporarily increased to provide further protection for abalone populations recovering from the effects of the abalone virus.
The new LML, applying from the mouth of the Hopkins River west to the South Australian border, will be increased from 120 mm to 130 mm and is in place from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009. A number of closures will apply to commercial abalone diving, while the area between The Crags and Killarney remains off limits to everyone looking to collect abalone, other shellfish and sea urchins, use commercial abalone equipment and remove substrate.
The increased LML and closures have been developed at the request of the commercial abalone industry and following consultation with the Victorian Recreational Fishing peak body (VRFish). The changes and closures are in force to help abalone stocks in the west rebuild in the wake of the virus that has been currently confirmed as east as far as Port Campbell, and west as far as Discovery Bay.
Recreational divers taking abalone outside of the closed area between The Crags and Killarney should continue using their plastic yellow abalone measures but should use the 130 mm measurement for greenlip, to ensure they comply with the temporary LML increase.
It is also important that commercial and recreational abalone divers continue to observe the Department’s biosecurity protocols, which aim to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. The wash, remove and dispose messages remain at the centre of the biosecurity protocols, which have been widely promoted throughout the southwest.
More information on the biosecurity protocols can be found at www.dpi.vic.gov.au/abalonedisease (follow the links to the biosecurity protocols webpage) or by ringing 136 186.