Blacklip Abalone

Latin name: Haliotis rubra

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Wild Caught


Key Facts

  • Abalone are hand-gathered by divers using hookah, snorkel and scuba. The fishing method is usually low impact and has no bycatch or discards, however there have been anecdotal reports in Tasmania from divers about changes to habitats following depletion of abalone populations by fishing. This warrants further monitoring and the fishery has invested in research.
  • Abalone stocks in Tasmania are made up of many small, independent populations. Some appear healthy, while others appear to be declining.
  • Managers and the fishery have invested in researching the effects on habitat of the removal of abalone.
  • Management does not yet take into account climate-related variables sufficiently, even though the region is located in a well known ocean warming hotspot. There are not many protections like Marine Protected Areas present to help with resilience.

More information

  • Tasmanian Abalone Fishery (1140t in 2019, 1177t in 2018)

Abalone are found on inshore kelp forest reefs on southern coastlines. They serve an important ecological role as a grazing herbivore and prey item for a range of coastal species.

Research into the stock status of abalone populations indicates that their stocks are likely made up of many small, independent populations along the southern coast of Australia. Regional studies suggest that some areas support healthy populations, while other areas are depleted and overfished, resulting in a patchwork of stock status.

There are indications that stock in the eastern and northern zones of the fishery are depleting. Stock in the Bass Strait and western zones have been assessed as sustainable. There are concerns the stock may be subject to overfishing and the fishery will require careful management to avoid a downgraded GoodFish ranking in future.

Many blacklip abalone stocks are declining because abalone are highly susceptible to a range of climate impacts like marine heatwaves, habitat loss and invasive species. These issues are likely to impact habitat in eastern areas, where loss of reef kelp forests is also a concern for the rock lobster fishery. Management should incorporate monitoring and management of environmental impacts more explicitly in the fishery.

Abalone are hand-collected by divers. There is no bycatch, but there is some anecdotal evidence of impacts on seafloor habitats where abalone has been overfished.