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

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

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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
Tasmania Tasmania Sustainable Catch rates, size structure
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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


The harvest strategy for Wavy Periwinkles in Tasmania in the Commercial Dive Fishery policy document [DPIPWE 2005, 2011] uses catch rates and size structure as performance indicators for the fishery. Trigger points for catch rates are reached if there is a decline of 20 per cent in each of two consecutive years or 35 per cent in a year. The fishery is managed by both input and output controls including limited entry, a total allowable commercial catch of 52.8 t split into five zones and a 45 mm size limit which allows populations to spawn twice before entering the fishery [Keane et al. 2014].

 Catches in the fishery since the introduction of a management plan in 2005 have varied between 13.0 t in 2009–10 to 41.0 t in 2014–15. The 2018–19 catch was 33.6 t. Catch rates have averaged 66.1 kg per hr between 2009 when the size limit increased from 30 to 40 mm and 2016-17. During this period annual catch rates have not varied more than 18 per cent from this mean. A size limit increase in 2014 to 45 mm saw no impact on catch rates. Catch rates in the 2018–19 season averaged 58.7 kg per hr which is within the historical range of CPUE.

The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired. Furthermore, the above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

 On the basis of the evidence provided above (robust size limit and stable catch rates), the Tasmanian Periwinkle stock is classified as a sustainable stock

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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
Hand collection
Management methods
Method Tasmania
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Marine park closures
Size limit
Spatial closures
Spatial zoning
Total allowable catch
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Marine park closures
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational Unknown

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

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