New virus bans

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

New virus bans

A temporary closure of collecting Abalone and diving for other benthic aquatic animals is in place in waters in the state’s South East with immediate effect following a positive detection of Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis (AVG) in wild abalone.

On May 14, 2024 the presence of the herpes virus which causes AVG was confirmed in abalone collected by a recreational fisher at Stanway Point near Southend.

In consultation with industry, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) has implemented a closure area to reduce the risk of human-induced spread of AVG from the outbreak site while the extent of the recent outbreak is established.

The closure area includes coastal areas from approximately 750m southeast of Blowhole Rd, Beachport to a location on Canunda Beach approximately 19km southeast of Cape Buffon, Southend and approximately 10 nautical miles out to sea, with a map available on the PIRSA website.

Within this area, the collection of abalone by diving or collecting shells from the beach area, as well as the collection of benthic aquatic animals such as Rock Lobster and Turbo shells by diving are prohibited. The collection of pipi’s is still allowed.
The closure is a temporary arrangement until June 30, 2024 while the extent of this latest outbreak is determined.

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, South Australians State-wide 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 burley in South Australian waters, and the prohibited area in waters near Port McDonnell remains in place.

For more information visit

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