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- Abalone are hand-gathered by divers using hookah, snorkel and scuba. The fishing method is low impact and has no bycatch or discards.
- There are not serious immediate concerns for the health of the NSW blacklip abalone populations.
- Marine parks and closures throughout the fishery provide a degree of protection; however, at the time of this assessment the NSW government was considering opening highly protected marine reserves to fishing.
- Fishery management does not take into account environmental variables, though the area is a well known ocean warming hotspot.
- New South Wales Abalone Fishery (100t in 2019)
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.
While there is some uncertainty about recent stock assessments, there are not serious immediate concerns for the health of the NSW blacklip abalone fishery.
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.
The fishery extends the entire length of the NSW coastline with four management areas. The current management approach does not protect against localised depletion, a key issue for abalone fishery management.
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. In NSW, climate impacts are cited as having a significant impact on the productivity of the fishery but have not yet been tackled. Management should incorporate monitoring and management of environmental impacts more explicitly in the fishery.
Recent moves by NSW to open no-take marine reserves to fishing may reduce the level of protection for blacklip abalone populations in these areas.