Greenlip Abalone (2020)

Haliotis laevigata

  • Stephen Mayfield (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Ben Stobart (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Owen Burnell (South Austtralian Research and Development Institute)
  • Lachlan Strain (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • Victorian Fisheries Authority (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Craig Mundy (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies)

Date Published: June 2021

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Of eight Greenlip Abalone stocks defined by management area, three are undefined (SA Southern Zone, VIC Central Zone, VIC Western Zone), four are depleting (TAS Greenlip Abalone Fishery, SA Central Zone, SA Western Zone and WA Area 2 Fishery), and one is depleted (WA Area 3 Fishery).

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Stock status Indicators
Tasmania Tasmania Greenlip Abalone Fishery Depleting CPUE
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Stock Structure

Greenlip Abalone is distributed across southern mainland Australia and northern Tasmania. The biological stock structure of Greenlip Abalone has recently been examined [Mayfield et al. 2014, Miller et al. 2014]. 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 Abalone [Miller et al. 2009, Mayfield et al. 2014, Miller et al. 2014]. There are many biological stocks across Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and South 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—South Australia Central Zone Fishery, South Australia Southern Zone Fishery and South Australia Western Zone Fishery (South Australia); Tasmania Greenlip Abalone Fishery (Tasmania); Victoria Central Zone Fishery, Victoria Western Zone Fishery (Victoria);Western Australia Area 2 Fishery, Western Australia Area 3 Fishery (Western Australia).

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Stock Status

Tasmania Greenlip Abalone Fishery

The Tasmanian abalone fishery has been quota managed with an annual total allowable commercial catch (TACC) since 1985. Since 2000, separate TACCs for Greenlip Abalone and Blacklip Abalone have been implemented, with catch limits within the Greenlip Abalone TACC applied to four regions within the Greenlip Abalone zone. Size limits vary with a legal minimum length (LML) of 132 mm, 145 mm or 150 mm depending on growth rates, size at maturity and maximum size of populations in different regions. An annual fishery assessment is conducted using fishery-dependent catch per unit effort (CPUE) data, and until 2014 the TACC was determined by an ad-hoc approach using trends in CPUE and industry perceptions on the state of the resource. In the 2012 and 2014 Status of Australian Fish Stocks editions, this fishery was classified as undefined due to the complexities of reporting and apportioning of effort to Greenlip Abalone, and hence understanding CPUE, in this mixed species fishery. The fishery-dependent data time series has since been reviewed and revised and a formal process for assigning effort in mixed-species fishing events established [Mundy and McAllister 2020], enabling the development of separate CPUE indices for Greenlip and Blacklip Abalone.

In 2014–15, an empirical harvest strategy was developed [Mundy and McAllister 2020] and tested by Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) [Haddon et al. 2014, Buxton et al. 2015, Haddon and Mundy 2016]. This harvest strategy was applied in the 2017 annual fishery assessment [Mundy and McAllister 2018]. The harvest strategy assesses fishery performance against target reference points for three performance measures (PM) derived from standardised CPUE (SCPUE) data: 1) current CPUE relative to an agreed target (55th percentile of the annual standardised mean CPUE within the reference period); 2) the 4-year gradient of CPUE (target gradient is zero); and 3) the per cent change in SCPUE in the past year (target change is zero). The reference period for the 2017 assessment spans fishery data between 1992 and 2017. A scoring function is applied to the three PMs, resulting in a score between zero and 10, where five is the target score and zero and 10 are the zone-wide lowest and highest values for that PM within the reference period. Weightings are applied to the three PMs 0.65:0.25:0.1 to provide a combined final score used in the Control Rule. The HS is applied individually to each statistical reporting block, and a zone score is obtained from the mean block score weighted by block catch.

The zone target CPUE PM score is used as a proxy for biomass and the zone gradient CPUE PM score is used as a proxy for fishing mortality, F. A target CPUE score of one is the limit reference point (LRP) defining the boundary between recruitment overfished and depleting for all Tasmanian management units. This LRP is typically five per cent above the lowest SCPUE observed within the zone during the reference period. A negative zone gradient score gives evidence that fishing mortality is increasing and the magnitude of the gradient provides some information on the magnitude of F. The gradient four PM score ranges from negative five to positive five, where the target reference point is zero and defines the boundary between sustainable and depleting classifications, but also between the classifications of recovering and depleted. The combination of a negative CPUE gradient and near record low CPUE score represents a cautious proxy for the true depleted reference point. No reporting blocks have become depleted under this harvest strategy within the reference period (1992–2018 ), providing confidence that maintaining stocks above the LRP will prevent stock depletion, as predicted by MSE testing of the HS [Haddon and Mundy 2016].

The TACC for the Tasmania Greenlip Abalone Fishery has been stable at around 140 t since 2000, with only minor variation in the proportion of the TACC harvested annually from each of the four regions (King Island, North West, North East and Furneaux). The Greenlip TACC was reduced in 2018 and 2019, with a total catch set at 108.5 t in 2019. Catch-weighted mean standardised CPUE (SCPUEcw) has declined slowly since 2010 [Mundy and McAllister 2020]. The zone-wide catch-weighted block mean SCPUEcw declined from 54.4 Kg/Hr in 2017 to 50.6 Kg/Hr in 2019. The regional SCPUE is close to the target SCPUE in two of the four regions; the Furneaux Group region is above the target reference point (TRP) and the King Island region is below the TRP but above the LRP. The zone-wide proxy for abundance has declined from 4.2 in 2016 to 3.6 in 2017, although remains above the LRP. The above evidence indicates that biomass is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired.

The zone-wide proxy for F in 2019 was -0.2, just below the TRP. The above evidence indicates that, for the period from 2010–19, the biomass declined and that the current level of fishing mortality is likely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Tasmania Greenlip Abalone Fishery management unit is classified as a depleting stock.

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Greenlip Abalone biology [Burnell et al. 2016, Haddon and Mundy 2016, Hart et al. 2017]

Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Greenlip Abalone

20 years, 200 mm SL 

3–5 years, 70–120 mm SL

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Distribution of reported commercial catch of Greenlip Abalone

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Fishing methods
Management methods
Method Tasmania
Limited entry
Size limit
Total allowable catch
Bag limits
Size limit
Bag limits
Size limit
Commercial 109.19t
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational 2.2 t

Victoria – Indigenous (Management Methods) A person who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is exempt from the need to obtain a Victorian recreational fishing licence, provided they comply with all other rules that apply to recreational fishers, including rules on equipment, catch limits, size limits and restricted areas. Traditional (non-commercial) fishing activities that are carried out by members of a traditional owner group entity under an agreement pursuant to Victoria’s Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 are also exempt from the need to hold a recreational fishing licence, subject to any conditions outlined in the agreement. Native title holders are also exempt from the need to obtain a recreational fishing licence under the provisions of the Commonwealth’s Native Title Act 1993.

Commonwealth – Indigenous (Management Methods) 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.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Greenlip Abalone - note confidential catch not shown.

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  1. Assessment of abalone stocks in Western Zone Victoria: Submission for the TAC setting process for 2020. Western Abalone Diver Association. ISBN 978-0-9870470-7-6.
  2. 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.
  3. Burnell, O, Mayfield, S and Hogg, A 2020, Status of the Southern Zone Blacklip (Haliotis rubra) and Greenlip (H. laevigata) Abalone Fisheries in 2016/17. Report for PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2014/000359-4. SARDI Research Report Series No. 1067. 32pp.
  4. 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.
  5. Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources 2014, Victorian Wild Harvest Abalone Fishery Management Plan. State of Victoria, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Melbourne. 42 pp.
  6. Department of Fisheries 2017, Abalone resource of Western Australia harvest strategy 2016–2021. Fisheries Management Paper No. 283. Department of Fisheries, Western Australia, Perth. 36pp.
  7. DRAFT Management Plan for the South Australian Commercial Abalone Fishery. Government of South Australia. Department of Primary Industries and Regions.
  8. Gorfine H, Thomson J, Spring D and Cleland M 2018, Modelling trends including effects of natural disturbance in an abalone dive fishery in Australia. Natural Resource Modelling, 31. DOI: 10.1111/nrm.12175
  9. Haddon M and Mundy C 2016, Testing abalone empirical harvest strategies, for setting TACs and associated LMLs, which include the use of novel spatially explicit performance measures. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart.
  10. 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.
  11. Hart A, Strain L, Hesp A, Fisher E, Webster F, Brand-Gardner S and Walter S 2017, Marine Stewardship Council full assessment report Western Australian Abalone Managed Fishery. Department of Fisheries, Western Australia, Perth. 288pp.
  12. 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. 96pp.
  13. 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.
  14. Miller, KJ, Maynard, BT and Mundy, CN 2009, Genetic diversity and gene flow in collapsed and healthy abalone fisheries, Molecular Ecology, 18: 200–211.
  15. Miller, KJ, Mundy, CM 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.
  16. Mundy C and McAllister J 2020, Tasmanian Abalone Fishery assessment 2017. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies Report, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
  17. 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.
  18. Stewardson, C, Andrews, J, Ashby, C, Haddon, M, Hartmann, K, Hone, P, Horvat, P, Mayfield, S, Roelofs, A, Sainsbury, K, Saunders, T, Stewart, J, Stobutzki, I and Wise, B (eds) 2016, Status of Australian fish stocks reports 2016. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
  19. Stobart B, Mayfield S and McGarvey R 2013, Maximum yield or minimum risk: Using biological data to optimize harvest strategies in a southern Australian molluscan fishery, Journal of Shellfish Research, 32(3): 899–909.
  20. Stobart, B and Mayfield, S 2016, Assessment of the Western Zone greenlip abalone (Haliotis laevigata) Fishery in 2015. Fishery Stock Assessment Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2015/000373-2. SARDI Research Report Series No. 920. 67pp.
  21. Stobart, B., Mayfield, S. and Heldt, K. 2020. Western Zone Greenlip Abalone (Haliotis laevigata) and Blacklip Abalone (H. rubra) Fisheries in 2019. Report for PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI publication in review. 84. pp.
  22. Victorian Government 2013, Victoria Government Gazette, 28 March 2013 www.gazette.vic.gov.au/gazette/Gazettes2013/GG2013G013.pdf

Downloadable reports

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