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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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Summary

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
South Australia South Australia Central Zone Fishery Depleting

CPUE, fishery-independent surveys

South Australia South Australia Southern Zone Fishery Undefined
South Australia South Australia Western Zone Fishery Depleting CPUE, fishery-independent surveys
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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

South Australia Central Zone Fishery

Greenlip Abalone catches in the South Australia Central Zone Fishery (SACZF) have been stable and consistent with the total allowable commercial catch (TACC) (currently 46 tonnes (t) meat weight) since its introduction in 1990.

The fourth management plan for the South Australian Abalone Fishery (SAAF) was developed from 2015–16 to 2019–20 and is currently in draft form [PIRSA 2020 in prep]. The draft management plan includes the draft harvest strategy, which is intended to be the primary tool used to achieve the goal of sustainably harvesting the abalone resource and allocating stock status in accordance with the National Status Reporting Framework (NSRF). The draft harvest strategy provides a structured, species-specific and spatially explicit framework for decision making and includes assignment of stock status consistent with the NSRF. It has three main phases: (1) a monitoring phase in which information is collected for the two performance indicators, CPUE and legal density of abalone from fishery-independent surveys (FIS), along with other relevant fishery information; (2) the stock assessment phase where the performance of each spatial assessment unit (SAU; minimum spatial scale currently used to assess the fishery) is scored based on a CPUE score and, for some key SAUs, a legal density score. This scoring is based on a range from 0 to 10 where the target reference point is 5 and the limit reference point is 0. Aggregated scores for the SAUs provide an overall stock status based on trigger reference points for biomass (zone score used as a proxy) and fishing mortality (zone score trend used as a proxy); and (3) the final step where zone score is translated to a recommended zonal catch. During this step a workshop is held with industry to share relevant information, and zonal catch can be adjusted within a 10 per cent range based on the information through harvest decision rules. The adjusted zonal catch helps to inform a TACC for the following season.

The most recent assessment report for the SACZF was completed in 2020 and reported up to the conclusion of the 2019 season [Burnell et al. 2020]. The primary measures for biomass and fishing mortality are commercial CPUE and FIS of legal-size abalone density, including derived estimates of harvestable biomass.

Catch per unit effort was stable during the 1990s at a relatively low level (average of 21 kg meat weight per hour) before rising sharply to 30 kg per hour in 2000. Following the highest recorded level of 31 kg per hour in 2001, the zonal CPUE has generally followed a declining trend for almost 20 years, reaching 21 kg per hour in 2019. While CPUE is currently at its lowest level in two decades, it remains similar to reference levels from 1990–2000. Over the history of the fishery, most of the catch (> 70 percent) has been harvested from two SAUs: Tiparra Reef and West Yorke Peninsula. Catch rates from both of these SAUs have decreased consistently over the last five to seven seasons, following contemporary peaks between 2012 and 2014. Notably, CPUE in the West Yorke Peninsula SAU declined by 16 per cent in 2019, from 22 to 18 kg per hour. Collectively, the remaining SAUs have had below-average CPUE estimates in recent seasons.

Biennial FIS estimates of legal density and derived biomass were available for the Tiparra Reef and West Yorke Peninsula SAUs. At Tiparra Reef, the density of legal-sized Greenlip Abalone has increased almost 80 per cent from a contemporary low recorded in 2011. Nonetheless, the density of sub-legal-size Greenlip Abalone remains at the second lowest level recorded since 1990, despite size distributions indicative of recent recruitment. In the West Yorke Peninsula SAU, the FIS legal density and estimated harvestable biomass were high until recently, but both legal density (40 per cent) and derived biomass (46 per cent) decreased substantially between the surveys undertaken in 2017 and 2019.

Application of the proposed harvest strategy in 2019 resulted in a zone score of 4.6 that, in combination with the zone trend score of 4.1 (reflecting a decreasing trend), define the stock status for Greenlip Abalone in the SACZF in 2019 as ‘depleting’. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired. The above evidence indicates that, over a recent period, 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 South Australia Central Zone Fishery management unit is classified as a depleting stock.

South Australia Southern Zone Fishery

The most recent assessment report for the South Australia Southern Zone Fishery (SASZF) was completed in 2020 and reported up to the conclusion of the 2018–19 season [Burnell et al. 2020]. The season in this fishery extends from 1 October to 30 September of the following year, and this species is typically harvested as a bycatch even though there is a separate Greenlip Abalone total allowable commercial catch (TACC). The maximum catch of Greenlip Abalone in the SASZF was 19 t (whole weight) in 1968–69, but recent Greenlip Abalone catches have generally been small, being <5 t per season from 2013–14, with the current TACC set at 1.8 t. This reflects the low density and patchy distribution of Greenlip Abalone in the SASZF. There are no data available to estimate biomass or exploitation rates. In addition, there is no knowledge on recruitment or harvestable biomass, and there are no defined target or limit reference levels. This prevents assessment of current stock size or fishing pressure. Consequently, there is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the South Australia Southern Zone Fishery management unit is classified as an undefined stock.

South Australia Western Zone Fishery

The total commercial catch for Greenlip Abalone has declined by 37 per cent from the stable catch over the decade ending 2009 (which averaged 81 t) to the 2020 total allowable commercial catch (TACC) (51 t) meat weight. This decline in catch was the combined effect of TACC reductions and the removal of one licence during the elimination of displaced catch/effort as part of the implementation of state marine parks. The total catch was further decreased by voluntary reductions in catch by the commercial sector in 2015, 2016 and 2019 [Stobart et al. 2019, 2020].

The fourth management plan for the South Australian Abalone Fishery (SAAF) was developed from 2015–16 to 2019–20 and is currently in draft form [PIRSA 2020 in prep]. The draft management plan includes the draft harvest strategy intended to be the primary tool used to achieve the goal of sustainably harvesting the abalone resource and allocating stock status in accordance with the National Status Reporting Framework (NSRF). The draft harvest strategy provides a structured, species-specific and spatially explicit framework for decision making and includes assignment of stock status consistent with the NSRF. It has three main phases: (1) a monitoring phase in which information is collected for the two performance indicators, catch per unit effort (CPUE) and legal density of abalone from fishery-independent surveys (FIS), along with other relevant fishery information; (2) the stock assessment phase where the performance of each SAU is scored based on a CPUE score and, for some key SAUs, a legal density score. This scoring is based on a range from 0 to 10 where the target reference point is 5 and the limit reference point is 0. Aggregated scores for the SAUs provide an overall stock status based on trigger reference points for biomass (zone score used as a proxy) and fishing mortality (zone score trend used as a proxy); and (3) the final step where zone score is translated to a recommended zonal catch. During this step a workshop is held with industry to share relevant information, and zonal catch can be adjusted within a 10 per cent range based on the information through harvest decision rules. The adjusted zonal catch helps to inform a TACC for the following season.

The most recent assessment report for the South Australia Western Zone Fishery (SAWZF) was completed in 2020 and reported to the end of June 2020 [Stobart et al. 2020]. The primary measures for biomass and fishing mortality are CPUE and FIS of legal-sized density by financial year [PIRSA 2020]. The CPUE for Greenlip Abalone in the SAWZF remained relatively stable between the 1979 and 1989 and then increased rapidly, reaching a peak of 30 kg per hour in 2004. From 2004, CPUE decreased substantially to 20 kg per hour in 2013, the seventh lowest value since records began in 1979. The CPUE then increased to 22 kg per hour in 2015, attributed to a combination of changing spatial and temporal fishing patterns and an increase in stock abundance [Stobart and Mayfield 2016]. However, this increase was not sustained, with the CPUE decreasing again between 2015 and 2018 to the fifth lowest value on record [Stobart et al. 2020], subsequently increasing to the tenth lowest value on record for the SAWZF in 2019.

The recent decline in CPUE observed for the SAWFZ was widespread across fishing grounds and resulted in CPUE values that were amongst the lowest on record at the three most important SAUs—Anxious Bay, The Gap and Avoid Bay—from which 23 per cent of the Greenlip Abalone catch was obtained in 2019. Of the remaining SAUs, most had relatively low CPUE values in 2019. The recent declines in CPUE occurred despite a 4 per cent reduction in catch from 2015 to 2019 and the change from fishing primarily in summer, when fish of a given shell length weigh least, to autumn when they weigh more [Stobart et al. 2013]. Fishery-independent surveys at Anxious Bay, The Gap and Avoid Bay also indicated that the density of legal-sized Greenlip Abalone at these three locations was relatively low in 2020, as was sub-legal-sized density. Application of the proposed harvest strategy resulted in a zone score of 3.3 that, in combination with the zone trend score of 3.8 (reflecting a decreasing trend), define the stock status for Greenlip Abalone in the WZ in the 2019–20 FY as ‘depleting’. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired. The above evidence indicates that, for the period from 2004–2020, 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 South Australia Western Zone Fishery management unit is classified as a depleting stock.

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Biology

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

Biology
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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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Greenlip Abalone

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Tables

Fishing methods
South Australia
Commercial
Diving
Indigenous
Diving
Recreational
Diving
Management methods
Method South Australia
Commercial
Gear restrictions
Licence
Limited entry
Seasonal closures
Size limits
Total allowable catch
Indigenous
Bag limits
Size limit
Recreational
Bag limits
Size limit
Catch
South Australia
Commercial 356.66t
Indigenous Unknown, Unknown
Recreational 1.9 t, Unknown

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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References

  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

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