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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.
- Blacklip abalone stocks in SA are made up of many small, independent populations. There is evidence that populations are sightly below healthy levels, but not seriously overfished One historically overfished area within the fishery has been closed to fishing, which is appropriate and does not penalize the overall GoodFish ranking of the SA fishery.
- Managers closely monitor abalone populations, and consider environmental factors that influence abalone abundance. This approach is welcome.
- Marine parks throughout SA coastal waters provide a small but additional source of protection and resilience to the fishery.
- South Australian Abalone Fishery (170t in 2019)
Blacklip 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.
The SA blacklip abalone fishery has relatively sophisticated management arrangements in place, with annual fishery independent monitoring of populations and catch rates. Management considers important environmental factors that influence abundance, which is welcome.
Two of the three managed zone within the SA blacklip abalone fishery were considered slightly below healthy levels in the most recently available scientific assessment. A third zone has been historically overfished, and is closed to fishing. This is an appropriate and precautionary approach, and as such does not affect the overall GoodFish ranking of 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 in other Australian fisheries.
Marine parks throughout SA’s coastal waters provide a small but highly valuable additional protection for fish populations, bycatch species and endangered wildlife, and vulnerable habitats.