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
South Australia South Australia Undefined
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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

South Australia

The South Australian fishery for Wavy Periwinkle has operated since 2001. Fishing occurs throughout the year with product sold on domestic and international markets [PIRSA 2018]. Prior to July 2018, fishing was permitted through Ministerial exemption and is now managed using exploratory and developmental fishing permits with fishing restricted to hand collection by a small number of fishers [PIRSA 2018]. Annual catches (confidential) were stable at a low level for > 10 years but declined to 13 per cent below the most-recent ten-year average in 2017–18 and 2018–19. Fishing effort (hours) and the number of active fishers also declined. The commercial catch rate increased from the early years of the fishery to a peak in 2012–13, then declined to approximately 4 per cent above the most recent ten-year average in 2018–19. Mean weight (g) of landed Periwinkle was stable throughout the history of the fishery but was 3 per cent above the most recent ten-year average in 2018–19. There is no published assessment of Wavy Periwinkle, and 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. These limitations prevent 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 available evidence, Wavy Periwinkle in South Australia is classified as an undefined 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
South Australia
Hand collection
Management methods
Method South Australia
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Marine park closures
Gear restrictions
Marine park closures
South Australia
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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