Wavy Periwinkle (2020)

Lunella undulata

  • John Keane (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies)
  • Rowan C. Chick (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales)
  • Greg Ferguson (South Australian Research and Development Insitute)
  • Victorian Fisheries Authority (Victorian Fisheries Authority)

Date Published: June 2021

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The Wavy Periwinkle is a moderate-sized marine shellfish found in shallow temperate waters of southern Australia. Stock status is sustainable in TAS, undefined in SA and negligible in NSW and VIC.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Stock status Indicators
Victoria Victoria Negligible Catch history
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Stock Structure

The Wavy Periwinkle, Lunella undulata, is a moderately sized marine gastropod found on exposed sand-scoured reef and boulder habitat in shallow temperate waters (0–20 m) of southern Australia. They grow to a maximum length of around 65 mm and are distributed from Hopetoun, Western Australia to Coolangatta, Queensland, and around Tasmania [Edgar 2012]. Wavy Periwinkles form large aggregations in shallow coastal waters. The Wavy Periwinkle has a protracted spawning period from October to May, and may undergo incomplete spawning (retain unshed eggs until the next spawning event) [Underwood 1974, Keane et al. 2014]. They have short-term lecithotrophic larvae (planktonic larvae which live off the yolk supplied by the egg), and it is assumed that the larval duration is about five days, similar to other species within the taxon [Underwood 1974]. Stock structure is unknown, however a study of genetic diversity across southern Australia is underway.

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the jurisdictional level—New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

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Stock Status


Stock status for Wavy Periwinkle in Victoria is reported as negligible due to historically low catches in this jurisdiction and a general lack of targeted fishing. Confidentiality provisions preclude full disclosure of catches for the period 2000–2019, but catches have generally been small and irregular. The number of divers participating in the fishery in any given year during the past two decades has ranged from 1–11, with a median of 2. In the most recent decade only one, but not the same, diver was responsible for landing most if not all of the catch (median = 99 per cent). The pattern of catches, with occasional peaks of several tonnes, reflects the combined effects of the fickle nature of the local market demand for this species, and divers' participation in other more lucrative fisheries that often compete for their effort on suitable diving days. The stock has not been identified as overfished in the past and it is likely that the stock can sustain a higher catch than is currently taken. Fishing is unlikely to be having a negative impact on the stock and it is unlikely that the current level of fishing mortality will cause the stock to become recruitment impaired. There is little information available and a stock assessment is not justifiable.

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Wavy Periwinkle biology [Keane et al. 2014]

Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Wavy Periwinkle ~ 10 years, 65 mm TL 23–26 mm TL
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Distribution of reported commercial catch of Wavy Periwinkle
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Fishing methods
Traps and Pots
Commercial 4.31t

New South Wales – Indigenous https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/aboriginal-fishing

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.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Wavy Periwinkle - note confidential catch not shown
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  1. DPIPWE 2005, Policy Document for the Tasmanian Commercial Dive Fishery. Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment. Hobart, Tasmania, 36p.
  2. DPIPWE 2011, 2011 Update of Policy Document for the Tasmanian Commercial Dive Fishery. Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment. Hobart, Tasmania, 9p.
  3. Edgar, G 2012, Australian Marine Life: The Plants and Animals of Temperate Waters, New Holland, Chatswood, NSW.
  4. Henry, GW and Lyle, JM 2003, The national recreational and Indigenous fishing survey. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
  5. Keane, JP, Lyle, J, Mundy, C and Hartmann, K 2014, Periwinkle Fishery of Tasmania: Supporting Management and a Profitable Industry, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies Hobart.
  6. Murphy, J.J., Ochwada-Doyle, F.A., West, L.D., Stark, K.E. and Hughes, J.M., 2020. The NSW Recreational Fisheries Monitoring Program - survey of recreational fishing, 2017/18. NSW DPI - Fisheries Final Report Series No. 158.
  7. PIRSA 2018, Ecological Assessment of South Australian Commercial Miscellaneous Fishing Activities: Reassessment Report Incorporating Harvest of Sea Urchin, Specimen Shell and Turbo. Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (Fisheries and Aquaculture) Adelaide, 11p.
  8. Underwood, AJ 1974, The reproductive cycles and geographical distribution of some common eastern Australian prosobranchs (Molluscs: Gastropoda). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 25: 63–88.
  9. West, LD, Stark, KE, Murphy, JJ, Lyle, JM and Ochwada-Doyle, FA 2015, Survey of recreational fishing in New South Wales and the ACT, 2013/14. Fisheries Final Report Series No. 149. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wollongong.

Downloadable reports

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