*

Greenlip Abalone

Haliotis laevigata

  • Stephen Mayfield (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Ben Stobart (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Corey Green (Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Victoria)
  • Craig Mundy (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Lachlan Strain (Department of Fisheries, Western Australia)
  • Owen Burnell (South Australian Research and Development Institute)

You are currently viewing a report filtered by jurisdiction. View the full report.

Toggle content

Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Western Australia Western Australian Area 2 Fishery WAA2F Transitional-depleting Catch, CPUE, catch, length-frequency data, fishery-independent surveys
Western Australia Western Australian Area 3 Fishery WAA3F Transitional-depleting Catch, CPUE, catch, length-frequency data, fishery-independent surveys
WAA2F
Western Australian Area 2 Fishery (WA)
WAA3F
Western Australian Area 3 Fishery (WA)
Toggle content

Stock Structure

Greenlip Abalone is distributed across southern mainland Australia and northern Tasmania. The biological stock structure of Greenlip Abalone has recently been examined1,2. Genetic evidence has confirmed that Greenlip Abalone comprise numerous independent biological stocks, but at a spatially broader scale than the biological stock structure evident for Blacklip Abalone1–3. There are many biological stocks across Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Given the large number of biological stocks, it is not practical to assess each separately.

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—Western Australian Area 2 Fishery, Western Australian Area 3 Fishery, Victorian Central Zone Fishery, Victorian Western Zone Fishery, Tasmanian Greenlip Abalone Fishery, South Australian Western Zone Fishery, South Australian Central Zone Fishery and South Australian Southern Zone Fishery.

Toggle content

Stock Status

Undertaking assessments of abalone stock status is complicated by several factors, including: spatial variation in levels of depletion within management units ; changes to management unit boundaries and size limits; absence of a performance indicator and reference points above or below which the fishery would be defined as sustainable or recruitment overfished; changes in fishing power, which impede comparisons of current and historical catch per unit effort (CPUE); the multitude of factors that affect the effort component of CPUE; the degree to which CPUE reflects abalone abundance. The methods of assessing stock status can also vary among jurisdictions and management units.

Western Australian Area 2 Fishery

Catches in the Western Australian Area 2 and Area 3 Abalone Fisheries are controlled by a total allowable commercial catch (TACC), set by the harvest control rule defined in the Abalone Resource of Western Australia Harvest Strategy 2016–214. The harvest control rule uses a 3-year moving average of standardised catch per unit effort (SCPUE) as the key performance indicator against specified limit, threshold and target reference levels, with the threshold being a level at which additional management action should be considered to prevent decline towards the limit. The fishery is defined as recruitment overfished if the SCPUE is below the limit reference level, which is set at two-thirds of the lowest SCPUE observed (threshold level) in each management area during the specified reference period of recruitment stability in the commercial fishery (1992–2006)4,5.

In the Western Australian Area 2 Fishery (WAA2F), the SCPUE for Greenlip Abalone has fluctuated between the target and threshold reference levels since 1995. A declining trend in SCPUE towards the threshold reference level has been observed post 2010–11, with a marked decline in 2015 resulting in the SCPUE now being below the threshold, but above the limit reference level. Sub-area analysis of raw catch rate, average meat weight per individual and length-frequency distributions from catch sampling, are consistent with the recent decline in the SCPUE trend5,6. Fishery-independent surveys show evidence of a decline in juvenile (40–80 mm), recruit (145+ mm) and total densities, but not outside of historical ranges5,6. The fishery has a legal minimum length of 140 mm, which allows 2–5 years of spawning to occur before recruitment to the fishery. The effect of above-average water temperatures on the abalone stocks since 2011 may have reduced recruitment and/or growth and needs to be assessed further. The above evidence indicates that the biomass has declined, but the stock is not yet considered to be recruitment overfished (indicator not below the limit reference level).

A recent review of the harvest control rule and reference levels in the Western Australian abalone fisheries (2015) indicated that a more conservative approach was required, and management action has subsequently been implemented in the WAA2F (TACC at 60 per cent of long-term commercial sustainable harvest level)4,5. The reductions in catch quota under the revised harvest control rule have reduced the fishing mortality, and the effect of these will be monitored annually to determine if the reductions are sufficient to ultimately prevent the stock becoming recruitment overfished.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Western Australian Area 2 Fishery management unit is classified as a transitional–depleting stock.

Western Australian Area 3 Fishery

Catches in the Western Australian Area 3 Abalone Fishery (WAA3F) are managed by the same process as described above in the Western Australian Area 2 Abalone Fishery and defined in the Abalone Resource of Western Australia Harvest Strategy 2016–214. The SCPUE for Greenlip Abalone in the WAA3F fluctuated between the target and threshold reference levels during the period 2002–12. Since 2013, the SCPUE has declined to below the threshold, but remains above the limit reference level. Sub-area analysis of raw catch rate, average meat weight per individual and length-frequency distributions from catch sampling, support the decline seen in the SCPUE trend5,6. Fishery-independent surveys show evidence of a recent decline in juvenile (40–80 mm), recruit (145+ mm) and total densities but not outside of historical ranges5,6. The fishery has a legal minimum length of 140 mm which allows 2–5 years of spawning to occur before recruitment to the fishery. The effect of above-average water temperatures on the abalone stocks since 2011 needs to be assessed further. The above evidence indicates that the biomass has declined, but the stock is not yet considered to be recruitment overfished (indicator not below the limit reference level).

A recent review of the harvest control rule and reference levels in the Western Australian abalone fisheries (2015) indicated that a more conservative approach was required, and management action has subsequently been implemented in the WAA3F (TACC at 73 per cent of long-term commercial sustainable harvest level)4,5. The reductions in catch quota under the revised harvest control rule have reduced the fishing mortality, and the effect of these will be monitored annually to determine if the reductions are sufficient to ultimately prevent the stock becoming recruitment overfished.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Western Australian Area 3 Fishery management unit is classified as a transitional–depleting stock.

Toggle content

Biology

Greenlip Abalone biology16,18

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Greenlip Abalone 20 years; 200 mm SL  3–5 years; 70-120 mm SL
Toggle content

Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Greenlip Abalone

Toggle content

Tables

Fishing methods
Western Australia
Commercial
Various
Indigenous
Diving
Recreational
Diving
Management methods
Method Western Australia
Commercial
Limited entry
Size limit
Total allowable catch
Indigenous
Bag limits
Size limit
Recreational
Bag limits
Size limit
Active vessels
Western Australia
10 in WAA2F, 10 in WAA3F
WAA2F
Western Australian Area 2 Fishery (WA)
WAA3F
Western Australian Area 3 Fishery (WA)
Catch
Western Australia
Commercial 66.83t in WAA2F, 79.11t in WAA3F
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational 8t
WAA2F
Western Australian Area 2 Fishery (WA)
WAA3F
Western Australian Area 3 Fishery (WA)

a Victoria – Indigenous (catch) In Victoria, regulations for managing recreational fishing are also applied to fishing activities by Indigenous people. Recognised Traditional Owners (groups that hold native title or have agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 [Vic]) are exempt (subject to conditions) from the requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence, and can apply for permits under the Fisheries Act 1995 (Vic) that authorise customary fishing (e.g. different catch and size limits, or equipment). The Indigenous category in Table 3 refers to customary fishing undertaken by recognised Traditional Owners. In 2012–13, there were no applications for customary fishing permits to access Greenlip Abalone.
b Indigenous Subject to the defence that applies under Section 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), and the exemption from a requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence, the non-commercial take by indigenous fishers is covered by the same arrangements as that for recreational fishing.

Toggle content

Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Greenlip Abalone

Toggle content

Effects of fishing on the marine environment

  • Because Greenlip Abalone is hand selected by commercial divers operating from vessels that seldom anchor, the fishery has limited direct physical impact on the environment. There is also substantial evidence that the ecosystem effects of removing abalone are minimal23–25.
Toggle content

Environmental effects on Greenlip Abalone

  • Southward and westward strengthening of the warm East Australian Current into the relatively cold inshore waters in Tasmania has changed near-shore community structure and productivity, primarily through expansion of the range of the urchin Centrostephanus rodgersii from New South Wales to Tasmania26–28. This has resulted in localised depletions of abalone populations and a reduction in the habitat available for abalone29,30.
Toggle content

References

  1. 1 Miller, KJ, Mundy, CN and Mayfield, S 2014, Molecular genetics to inform spatial management in benthic invertebrate fisheries: a case study using the Australian Greenlip Abalone, Molecular Ecology, 23: 4958–4975.
  2. 2 Mayfield, S, Miller, KJ and Mundy, CM 2014, Towards understanding Greenlip Abalone population structure, Final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 2010/013, South Australia Research and Development Institute, Adelaide.
  3. 3 Miller, KJ, Maynard, BT and Mundy, CN 2009, Genetic diversity and gene flow in collapsed and healthy abalone fisheries, Molecular Ecology, 18: 200–211.
  4. 4 Department of Fisheries, Western Australia (in prep). Abalone resource of Western Australia harvest strategy 2016–2021, Fisheries Management Paper. DOF WA, Perth.
  5. 5 Hart, A, Strain, L, Hesp, A, Fisher, E, Webster, F, Brand-Gardner, S and Walter, S (in prep), Marine Stewardship Council full assessment report, Western Australian Abalone Managed Fishery, Department of Fisheries, Western Australia, Perth.
  6. 6 Hart, AM, Fabris, F, Brown, J and Caputi, N 2013, Biology, history and assessment of Western Australian abalone fisheries. Fisheries Research Report No. 241. Department of Fisheries, Western Australia, Perth.
  7. 7 Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries 2002, Victorian Abalone Fishery management plan, Fisheries Victoria, Melbourne.
  8. 8 Gorfine, HK and Dixon, D (ed.s) 1999, Greenlip Abalone—1998, compiled by Abalone Stock Assessment Group, Fisheries Victoria assessment report 26, Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute, Queenscliff.
  9. 9 Victorian Government 2013,Victoria Government Gazette, 28 March 2013
    www.gazette.vic.gov.au/gazette/Gazettes2013/GG2013G013.pdf
  10. 10 Gorfine, HK 2007, Assessment of abalone fishing potential in the Julia Bank region of western Victoria, Primary Industries Research Victoria–Marine and Freshwater Systems internal report 62, PIRVic, Queenscliff.
  11. 11 Prince, J 2008, Analysis of Greenlip Abalone sampling from Minerva and Hospital Reef, Portland, 10–11 May, 2008, unpublished report to the Western Abalone Divers Association, 13 June 2008.
  12. 12 Mundy, C and Jones, HJ (in prep), Tasmanian Abalone Fishery assessment 2015. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies Report, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
  13. 13 Mundy, C and Jones, H 2016, Multi-criteria decision analysis based harvest strategy for the Tasmanian abalone fishery, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
  14. 14 Buxton, CD, Cartwright, I, Dichmont, CM, Mayfield, S and Plaganyi-Lloyd, E 2015, Review of the harvest strategy and MCDA process for the Tasmanian Abalone Fishery. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
  15. 15 Haddon, M, Mayfield, S, Helidoniotis, F, Chick, R and Mundy, C 2014, Identification and evaluation of performance indicators for abalone fisheries, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation project 2007/020, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Hobart.
  16. 16 Haddon, M and Mundy, C 2016, Testing abalone empirical harvest strategies, for setting TACs and associated LMLs, that include the use of novel spatially explicit performance measures. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart.
  17. 17 Primary Industries and Regions South Australia 2012, Management plan for the South Australian commercial abalone fishery, September 2012, Government of South Australia, Adelaide.
  18. 18 Burnell, O, Mayfield, S, Ferguson, G and Carroll, J 2016, Central Zone Abalone (Haliotis laevigata and H. rubra) Fishery, Fishery Assessment Report for Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, Fisheries and Aquaculture, SARDI Publication No. F2007/000611-7, SARDI Research Report Series No. 927, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  19. 19 Stobart, B and Mayfield, S 2016a, Assessment of the Western Zone Greenlip Abalone (Haliotis laevigata) Fishery in 2015. Fishery Stock Assessment Report to Primary Industries and Regions South Australia Fisheries and Aquaculture, SARDI Publication No. F2015/000373-2. SARDI Research Report Series No. 920, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  20. 20 Stobart, B and Mayfield, S 2016b, Status of the Western Zone Blacklip Abalone (Haliotis rubra) fishery in 2015, Report for Primary Industries and Regions South Australia Fisheries and Aquaculture, SARDI Publication No. F2014/000361-2. SARDI Research Report Series No. 918, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  21. 21 Dowling, NA, Hall, SJ and McGarvey, R 2004, Assessing population sustainability and response to fishing in terms of aggregation structure for Greenlip Abalone (Haliotis laevigata) fishery management, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 61: 247–259.
  22. 22 Shepherd, SA and Rodda, KR 2001, Sustainability demands vigilance: Evidence for serial decline of the Greenlip Abalone Fishery and a review of management, Journal of Shellfish Research, 20: 829–841.
  23. 23 Tarbath, D, Mundy, C and Gardner, C 2014, Tasmanian Abalone Fishery assessment 2013, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
  24. 24 Ferguson, G and Mayfield, S 2016, Status of the Southern Zone blacklip (Haliotis rubra) and greenlip (H. laevigata) abalone fisheries in 2014–15, Report for Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, Fisheries and Aquaculture, SARDI Publication No. F2014/000359-2. SARDI Research Report Series No. 902, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  25. 25 Hamer, P, Jenkins, G, Womersley, B and Mills, K 2010, Understanding the ecological role of abalone in the reef ecosystem of Victoria, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 2006/040, Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute, Queenscliff.
  26. 26 Jenkins, GP 2004, The ecosystem effects of abalone fishing: A review, Marine and Freshwater Research, 55: 545–552.
  27. 27 Valentine, JP, Tarbath, DB, Frusher, SD, Mundy, CN and Buxton, CD 2010, Limited evidence for ecosystem-level change on reefs exposed to Haliotis rubra (Blacklip Abalone) exploitation, Austral Ecology, 35: 806–817.
  28. 28 Ling, SD 2008, Range expansion of a habitat-modifying species leads to loss of taxonomic diversity: a new and impoverished reef state, Oecologia, 156: 883–894.
  29. 29 Ling, SD, Johnson, CR, Ridgway, K, Hobday, AJ and Haddon, M 2009, Climate driven range extension of a sea urchin: Inferring future trends by analysis of recent population dynamics, Global Change Biology 15: 719–731.
  30. 30 Ridgway, KR 2007, Long-term trend and decadal variability of the southward penetration of the East Australian Current, Geophysical Research Letters, 34: L13613.

Archived reports

Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.