Blacklip abalone western zone

Image from Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks 2014


Blacklip abalone are found throughout south-eastern Australia, from Broughton Island in the north, to the Great Australian Bight in the west.

Abalone are broadly distributed throughout Victorian near-shore coastal marine waters.

Stock structure

There are numerous independent populations of blacklip abalone within this area. For practical reasons, the status of blacklip abalone was assessed on the basis of management units (i.e. fishery zones) rather than biological stocks in the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks report 2014

There are three abalone fishery zones in Victoria: western, central and eastern. Information on the catch and status of blacklip abalone in the Victorian western zone is provided below.

Read more about the status of blacklip abalone in the Victorian central and eastern zones.

Annual catch


Estimated Victorian catch

Commercial (2015/16 fishing year)

61.7 tonnes

Recreational (statewide estimate from 2000/01 national survey; may include greenlip abalone)

 ≈ 3 tonnes (10,355 abalone of average weight 300 grams)

Indigenous (i.e. 2015/16 customary fishing permits) 

 0 tonnes 

Estimated total

≈ 65 tonnes

Stock status

The table below summarises and explains the status and management of blacklip abalone in the Victorian western zone based on: 

  1. Stock status: classification of the biological status of blacklip abalone in the western zone  as at 2013, taken from the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2014.
    Read more about the SAFS assessment approach and classification system.
  2. Management settings: overview of current management arrangements in Victorian waters, including any recent changes that may affect stock status.
  3. Risk management category: The Victorian Fisheries Authority's overall, qualitative assessment of current risk to stock status in Victorian waters taking into account management arrangements, based on the best information currently available:

    Red Red - current management measures may not be sufficient to prevent stock depletion
    Amber Amber - current management measures expected to mitigate risk of stock depletion
    Green Green - stock status not of concern under current management

Stock status is based only on sustainability, while management settings and risk management category also consider the steps taken to address stock status. The stock status classification, management settings and risk management category are all at the scale of the Victorian western zone.

Management settings are also influenced by social and economic factors, and can take some time to affect a stock's status. This can depend on biological and environmental factors as well as the type and level of management changes implemented.

Stock status (2013 data)

Key management settings

Risk management category



Commercial harvest is predominantly managed by limited entry licensing, a total allowable commercial catch and restrictions on size, gear and fishing times.  Recreational fishers are subject to size, gear and bag limits, and some restrictions on fishing times and locations.

Fishing was significantly reduced after the disease outbreak in 2006, and progressively resumed under altered controls as the disease abated. Catch ceased on disease-free reefs in recent years due to depletion concerns, which may lead to serial depletion risks. The total allowable commercial catch has been set at 62.5 tonnes for the 2016-17 quota season.

Read more about the fishing methods and rules for blacklip abalone in Victoria.



Collectively, the following data provide evidence that this stock  is recruitment overfished

The management steps taken mitigate the risk of further stock depletion but ongoing monitoring is required.

Basis for stock status classification (from SAFS 2014)

Biomass assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that biomass was below the biological limit where the stock is considered to be recruitment overfished.

Fishing pressure assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that the level of fishing pressure may allow the stock to recover from its recruitment overfished state. 

Management measures are in place, however they have not yet shown a measurable recovery.

Read more about the assessment of Blacklip abalone stock status as at 2013 in the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2014

More information

Read more on our Commercial abalone fishery page.