Abalone disease control shifts to new phase

Abalone disease control shifts to new phase

Fishing restrictions in South East waters established to help control the Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis (AVG) outbreak have been eased, with ongoing conditions.

With surveillance to understand the extent of the disease spread now complete, in consultation with industry the response is transitioning to ongoing management.

Important conditions will remain in place to reduce the risk of AVG spreading to other abalone fishery zones.

While eradication of AVG is not feasible in a marine environment, ongoing management is aimed at preventing the disease spreading.

For this reason:

Commercial and recreational fishers cannot move equipment that has come into contact with the sea floor in the Southern Zone to other waters without full decontamination;

Diving equipment includes: wetsuits, fins, masks, weight vests and belts, hookah gear and diving accessories including but not limited to knives, bags and nets;

Fishing equipment includes but is not limited to: rods, reels, lines, hooks, sinkers, lures, jigs, bins, baskets, buckets, nets, pots, bags, spearguns and knives.

For fish processors, abalone collected at any time from the Southern Zone cannot be held in thesame holding system as abalone from other South Australian state waters or non-abalone marine benthic species including Southern Rock Lobster.

‘Southern Zone’ is defined as waters adjacent to South Australia east of the meridian of longitude 1390 East and shallower than 30 m

In addition, abalone cannot be taken from the area surrounding the original detection site at Breaksea Reef near Port MacDonnell, from Surfers Way to Pointe des Coreaux and around 7km (approx. 3.8 nautical miles) out to sea.

Further information, including decontamination guidelines and a map of the abalone closure area, is on the PIRSA website at pir.sa.gov.au/avg

The use of abalone as bait or berley remains illegal.

Do not throw abalone meat, shell or gut into the ocean – disposal via household rubbish bins is recommended.

PIRSA’s AVG Response Outgoing Incident Controller Professor Peter Appleford thanked all commercial and recreational fishers for their cooperation throughout the AVG emergency response.

“Thanks to everyone for their cooperation during this emergency response, especially to industry who assisted in enabling important surveillance activities,” he said.

“While the restrictions in the South East have now been eased, we urge all commercial and recreational fishers to play their part to avoid the spread of AVG to other South Australian waters.

“Play your part to protect our marine life and fishing industries – follow the restrictions and keep your equipment clean. Make sure you report sick or dead abalone anywhere in South Australia by calling the Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 065 522 or use the SA Fishing app.

“Please check our website to find out all the ways you can help avoid spreading any aquatic pests or diseases.”

For further guidance on requirements visit pir.sa.gov.au/avg

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