Abalone Disease

Update: 6 March, 2024

Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis (AVG, also known as Abalone disease) is a viral disease which affects the nervous system of abalone and results in the foot curling up, swelling of the mouth, leading to weakness and death of abalone. There are no effects on human health.

On February 23, 2024, South Australian authorities detected AVG in wild abalone near Port Macdonnell. For the latest on SA's abalone disease response, click here.

In response to the South Australian detection, the Victorian Fisheries Authority introduced a Fisheries Notice on 28 February, 2024.

The Notice prohibits the use of commercial fishing gear and specified recreational fishing gear, specifically hoop nets, bait traps, abalone levers, catch bags and recreational haul nets, that have been used in a restricted area in South Australia, from being used back in Victorian waters. The restricted area extends from the SA/Vic border westwards past Port Macdonnell to near Meningie.

Our Fisheries Notice also prohibits the possession of unprocessed abalone from South Australia anywhere in Victoria and requires Victorian-licensed commercial rock lobster fishers to launch and land from Victorian ports only.

As always, we encourage fishers and boaters across Victoria to Check, Clean and Dry their dive equipment and fishing gear.

An area near Portland in south-west Victoria remains closed to all abalone fishing to protect stocks and assist their recovery. Click here or scroll down to find out more.

How to stop the spread

To reduce the risk of future spread it is important to remain vigilant to signs of this virus. Checking, cleaning and drying your gear and boat is the best way to reduce the risk. To find out more, click here.

Across Victoria, you cannot:

  • Use abalone, including gut as bait
  • Dispose of abalone shell or gut back into the ocean. You must use your rubbish bin for disposal.

If you find an abalone that you think is sick, anywhere in Victoria, please call the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

A Code of Practice is also available to people wanting to put steps into place to help stop the spread of AVG in Victoria. This Code of Practice, developed by Agriculture Victoria, aims to strengthen and protect the abalone industry. You can find the code of Practice by clicking here.

Click here to learn how to effectively clean your gear and boat to stay safe.

To see what a sick abalone looks like, view the video below.

Watch the below video for tips on washing your boat to help protect our oceans from disease and pests

View this short video which explains the steps to follow when washing your dive gear to help protect our oceans from disease and pests.

Abalone Stock Protection Area

See below for more information on measures that remain in place to keep our marine ecosystem healthy.

To support the recovery of abalone stocks the area between Whites Beach and Point Danger, inclusive of Lawrence Rocks, will remain closed to all abalone fishing until 30 June 2024 . Click here for more information on the area's 12-month renewal.

During this time, the area will continue to be assessed for signs of the virus and stock rehabilitation. The specified waters for this closure area are illustrated in the map below. Click here or on the map to enlarge the image.

A graphic map showing a closed area to all abalone fishing south of Portland in Victoria.