- Say No
Note: Abalone stocks from the Western Zone of the Victorian fishery (between Warnambool and the SA border) are in a healthy condition and can be considered a better choice option. However, that the western zone catch is only a minor proportion of total catch in the Victorian fishery and we recommend this option only if you are very confident of the origin of your abalone or can source it directly, such as from within the area itself.
- Abalone are hand-gathered by divers using hookah, snorkel and scuba. The fishing method is low impact and has no bycatch or discards.
- Victorian abalone stocks are in a depleting or overfished condition because of areas of overfishing, environmental change and a disease outbreak that impacted the fishery in the mid 2000s. Managers are not comprehensively addressing the impacts caused by these disturbances.
- At the time of writing, the relatively minor Victorian Western Zone Fishery was partially closed and impacted to an as yet unknown extent by the return of the disease that so impacted the fishery in the mid-2000s. Management has been proactive, though it is not yet clear whether these measures have been effective.
- Victorian Central Zone Fishery, Victorian Eastern Zone Fishery and the Victorian Western Zone Fishery (689t in 2018/19, 751t in 2017/18)
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.
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 a concern for the rock lobster fishery. But climate impacts are not yet considered in fisheries management.
Marine parks provide a small degree of additional protection for habitats and ecosystems throughout the fishery areas.
Abalone are hand-collected by divers. There is no bycatch, and minimal impacts on seafloor habitats from this fishing method.