Restrictions ease offshore

Restrictions ease offshore

Restrictions are beginning to ease for the boating and fishing community in the Limestone Coast following the detection of the Abalone viral ganglioneuritis (AVG) in wild abalone in waters south of Port Macdonnell.

After stringent conditions were imposed on water activities in a large stretch of coastal waters, the use of anchors and the recommencement of rock lobster fishing is now permitted under an exemption in the Southern Rock Lobster Zone, including the Control Area, under specific conditions.

Rock lobster fishing can be conducted in waters deeper than 30 metres in all waters of the Southern Rock Lobster Zone, including the Control Area.

Fishers are also able to retain bycatch and other licensed marine species.

Fishing for rock lobster in depths of less than 30 metres is not permitted from Carpenter Rocks to the Victorian border.

Anchors and pots must be cleaned of organic material such as seaweed and other marine organisms to ensure disposal in the water at the location retrieved.

This must be done after use or before moving to a different location.

The boating and fishing community can help reduce the spread of abalone disease by checking, cleaning and drying their equipment:

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

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

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

The easing of these restrictions will be a welcome relief to rock lobster fishers and the South East boating and fishing community who have been impacted by the AVG outbreak.

Temporary Control Area restrictions remain in place from Carpenter Rocks to the Victorian border, due to the proximity to the main AVG detections in Nene Valley and Port MacDonnell, and having the highest viral concentration for AVG.

Activities such as walking, swimming, surfing or kayaking are not impacted.

However, it is recommended any recreational equipment, such as wetsuits or kayaks, are thoroughly cleaned and washed after use.

Fishing and boating are allowed in both the Control Area and Buffer Zone.

However, there are restrictions to reef diving, use of catch, and equipment cleaning that people need to be aware of.

PIRSA would like to acknowledge commercial abalone fishers who have been instrumental in collecting over 600 samples for testing, which have now been processed.

It is confirmed that additional positive AVG samples have been detected in the Nora Creina area, however, all other samples west and east of this location in the Buffer Zone have returned negative to date.

It is recommended that fishers avoid sea floor activities in the Nora Creina area, and equipment which has made contact with the sea floor is cleaned and decontaminated.

PIRSA Incident Controller of the AVG response Peter Appleford said the easing of restrictions heightens the importance of following simple steps like cleaning and decontaminating equipment.

“Rock lobster fishers, along with the boating and fishing community in the South East, are eager to get back to normal as quickly as possible,” Mr Appleford said.

“Easing these restrictions requires everyone on the water to clean their equipment after use to limit the human spread. This is simply good biosecurity practice to prevent the spread of known and unknown pests and diseases.”

If you are a commercial fisher and feel overwhelmed about this situation or have been impacted by Abalone viral ganglioneuritis, contact Stay Afloat, the national mental health program for the Australian seafood industry, run by Seafood Industry Australia.

You can have a free, informal, confidential and independent conversation by phone.

Contact Stay Afloat, SA Coordinator Skye Barrett by calling or texting 0435 688 660 or email, visit or for more information.

To report sick or dead abalone, call the Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 065 522 or use the SA Fishing smart device app.

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