Abalone fishing ban extended

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Abalone fishing ban extended

The abalone fishing ban in waters near Port MacDonnell has been extended west to Nene Valley.

The ban was extended on Friday following further detection of active Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis (AVG) in wild abalone.

The existing restricted area has been extended approximately 13km west, now covering the waters between Nene Valley to Point Des Coreax, near Port MacDonnell, as prescribed under a notice approved under section 79 of the Fisheries Management Act 2007.

Within this area, the collection of benthic aquatic animals such as Abalone, Rock Lobster and Turbo shells by diving are prohibited.

The collection of pipis is still allowed.

This extension is due to observations of dead and dying abalone with symptoms consistent with AVG in the area of Douglas Bay, approximately 10km north west of the initial detection site at Breaksea Reef, by South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) divers.

In addition, the closure that was implemented near Southend earlier in May that restricted diving activities and the collection of abalone from the area has been revoked.

The restrictions at Southend were put in place due to the presence of a positive AVG sample collected by a recreational fisher at Stanway Point near Southend.

Subsequent surveillance by SARDI divers found no signs of abalone displaying symptoms of AVG in this area, resulting in the restrictions being revoked.

AVG can spread through the movement of:

• infected abalone or abalone product (tissue, offal, shell or mucus)

• diving equipment (including wetsuits)

• people who have come into contact with infected abalone or bottom habitat.

AVG has no known effects on human health.

AVG is caused by a mollusc herpes virus that only infects abalone.

It affects the abalone nervous system, causing weakness and eventually death, and AVG has the potential to severely impact local abalone stocks and reef ecosystems.

To help reduce the spread of AVG disease people are encouraged to:

• Check: all vessels, fishing, diving and surfing equipment and remove anything including, water, sand or seaweed. Check your catch for signs of illness.

• Clean: boats at home or at a commercial car wash. Wash your wetsuits, fishing and diving equipment with fresh, soapy water.

• Dry: all boating, fishing and diving equipment completely before heading out into the water again.

You must not dispose of any abalone shell or gut into the ocean.

Dispose of abalone shell, meat and gut in household rubbish.

AVG is a notifiable disease.

If you see sick abalone in South Australia, please call the Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 065 522 or use the SA Fishing app.

PIRSA also reminds fishers that abalone cannot be used for bait or berley in South Australian waters.

Visit pir.sa.gov.au/avg for more information.

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