- Say No
- Greenlip abalone are a species of single-shell mollusc found on shallow rocky reefs across southern Australia.
- Abalone are hand-gathered by divers using hookah, snorkel and scuba. The fishing method is low impact, with no bycatch and limited impact on seafloor habitats.
- Greenlip abalone stocks in SA are made up of many small, independent populations. There are serious concerns that overfishing has been occurring in two of the three major zones managed within the fishery.
- Managers closely monitor abalone populations, and consider environmental factors that influence abalone abundance. This approach is welcome, though the fishery will require considerable effort to rebuild populations to healthy levels.
- Marine parks throughout SA coastal waters provide a small but additional source of protection and resilience to the fishery.
- South Australian Abalone Fishery (357t in 2019)
Greenlip 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 greenlip 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.
In the major ‘western zone’ of the fishery, performance measures used to assess the sustainability of the fishery have declined to near historic lows. These measures also suggest the second largest ‘central zone’ subfishery is also in decline. This is of serious concern and results in the SA greenlip abalone fishery’s ‘Say no’ GoodFish ranking, and will require careful future management.
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.