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Stock Status Overview
|Victoria||Victorian Central Zone Fishery||VCZF||Overfished||Catch|
|Victoria||Victorian Western Zone Fishery||VWZF||Overfished||Catch|
- Victorian Central Zone Fishery (VIC)
- Victorian Western Zone Fishery (VIC)
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.
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.
Victorian Central Zone Fishery
The Victorian Abalone Fishery Management Plan7 does not identify a performance indicator or a reference point below which the fishery would be defined as recruitment overfished. In the absence of this key performance indicator, catch history and historical surveys are used to make inferences about stock status.
Greenlip Abalone continues to comprise a small component of the commercial Abalone catch which, in the Victorian Central Zone Fishery management unit, mostly comprises Blacklip Abalone. A study in 1996 concluded that the resource had by that time failed to recover from overfishing during the 1960s–70s when annual catches reached 50 tonnes (t), despite very small catches during ensuing decades8. The TACC has remained unchanged at 3.4 t since 20099 and, although some recovery of the stock is expected following these large reductions in catch, the fact that the TACC is not reached indicates that recovery is at best limited. The above evidence indicates that the stock is likely to be recruitment overfished.
There is no reliable information about fishing effort for Greenlip Abalone which makes it difficult to determine trends in fishing pressure and relative abundance through the use of indicators such as CPUE. Overall, the above evidence indicates that current fishing pressure is constrained by management to a level that should allow the stock to recover from its recruitment overfished state. However, measurable improvements are yet to be detected.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Victorian Central Zone Fishery management unit is classified as an overfished stock.
Victorian Western Zone Fishery
Population abundance and size structure estimates from data collected during the late-1980s–90s indicated that the stock was small and mostly concentrated in Portland Bay8. Surveys conducted almost a decade later showed potential for a limited fishery on Julia Bank10, as well as Minerva and Hospital Reefs11.
Prior to the implementation of the 2002 Victorian Abalone Fishery Management Plan, a TACC of 280 t was allocated for both Greenlip and Blacklip Abalone combined. The reported catches for Greenlip Abalone were small, with an average annual catch of only 100 kg during 2001–05. A separate Greenlip Abalone TACC of 4.2 t was set for the 2006–07 quota year (1 April–31 March) and maintained for the next 2 years. During this period, the TACC was caught.
Following a reduction in Blacklip Abalone catches due to the occurrence of abalone viral ganglioneuritis during 2006–07 and in response to a population survey of Greenlip Abalone on Minerva and Hospital reefs11, the TACC was increased to 16 t for 2009–10. A catch of 18.9 t was taken in the 2010 calendar year and an average catch of 14.8 t per year was taken during the period 2009–11. These catches were not sustained and annual catch declined to 7 t by 2012-13, with the TACC being decreased by 50 per cent between 2011 and 2012, in response to declining catches. The TACC was subsequently set at zero in 20139, and has remained at zero since then, following expressions of concern by industry that levels of fishing pressure had been too high, and that precautionary measures were required to allow the stock to rebuild (minutes from TACC Forum on 4 February 2013). This reduction in fishing mortality is expected to lead to a rebuilding of the stock, but there is some uncertainty about whether this is occurring and, if so, to what extent. There have been anecdotal reports from industry that the abundance of Greenlip Abalone is increasing. In the absence of recent fishery or survey data, it is not possible to provide evidence that Greenlip Abalone are recovering. The above evidence indicates that current fishing pressure is constrained by management to a level that should allow the stock to recover from its recruitment overfished state. However, measurable improvements are yet to be detected.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Victorian Western Zone Fishery management unit is classified as an overfished stock.
Greenlip Abalone biology16,18
|Species||Longevity / Maximum Size||Maturity (50 per cent)|
|Greenlip Abalone||20 years; 200 mm SL||3–5 years; 70-120 mm SL|
Distribution of reported commercial catch of Greenlip Abalone
|Total allowable catch|
|16 in VCZF, 0 in VWZF|
- Victorian Central Zone Fishery (VIC)
- Victorian Western Zone Fishery (VIC)
|Commercial||4.05t in VCZF|
- Victorian Central Zone Fishery (VIC)
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.
Commercial catch of Greenlip Abalone - note confidential catch not shown
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Department of Fisheries, Western Australia (in prep). Abalone resource of Western Australia harvest strategy 2016–2021, Fisheries Management Paper. DOF WA, Perth.
- 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.
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 Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries 2002, Victorian Abalone Fishery management plan, Fisheries Victoria, Melbourne.
- 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.
Victorian Government 2013,Victoria Government Gazette, 28 March 2013
- 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 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 Mundy, C and Jones, HJ (in prep), Tasmanian Abalone Fishery assessment 2015. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies Report, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
- 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 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.
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 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.
Primary Industries and Regions South Australia 2012, Management plan for the South Australian commercial abalone fishery, September 2012, Government of South Australia, Adelaide.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tarbath, D, Mundy, C and Gardner, C 2014, Tasmanian Abalone Fishery assessment 2013, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
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.
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.
Jenkins, GP 2004, The ecosystem effects of abalone fishing: A review, Marine and Freshwater Research, 55: 545–552.
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.
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.
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.
Ridgway, KR 2007, Long-term trend and decadal variability of the southward penetration of the East Australian Current, Geophysical Research Letters, 34: L13613.