Control area to continue protecting abalone stocks

26 June 2023

Measures to protect south-west Victoria’s abalone stocks will remain in place for at least another 12 months, with a 30-kilometre zone south of Portland to remain closed to abalone fishing until 30 June, 2024.

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) Acting CEO Ian Parks said the fishing closure was introduced last October as a proactive recovery measure after abalone numbers were heavily affected by a 2021 outbreak of Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis (AVG).

Following consultation with commercial and recreational fishers and local industry groups, the area will remain off limits for recreational and commercial abalone fishing, to fast-track the recovery of the valuable shellfish. The closed area stretches about 30km between Whites Beach and Point Danger, inclusive of Lawrence Rocks.

The VFA and the Western Abalone Divers Association have undertaken regular monitoring of abalone stocks both for signs of the virus and to assess how stocks are bouncing back.

"Monitoring has shown no signs of AVG present in the past 12 months and abalone numbers are on the improve as expected, but along with industry we’re keen to see the closed area maintain in place to give the fishery the best chance at long-term recovery,” Mr Parks said.

“Abalone diving is very popular in the south-west with a lot of fishers and there’s still many great spots to dive along the coastline in this beautiful part of the state.

“We’re appreciative for the cooperation of recreational and commercial fishers, who have put their hands up to dive outside the area to support stock recovery.

“It’s also important that fishers and boaters continue to clean and dry their gear after each trip, which will help keep our fisheries healthy now and for generations to come.”

To learn more about the Control Area in place near Portland, including GPS coordinates, head to

If you’re diving anywhere in Victoria and see an abalone you think is sick, please take the abalone, leave the water immediately and call the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.