Abalone Disease

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.

New measures have come into effect near Portland, as at 18 August 2023. See below for more information.

Abalone Control Area

On Wednesday 16 August 2023, the detection of AVG in two abalone samples collected from the beach at Point Danger was confirmed.

In response, the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) has introduced via Fisheries Notice a new control area, closing a section of coastline and water to all recreational and commercial abalone and rock lobster fishing and commercial and recreational netting including the use of recreational hoop nets. The area stretches south from Portland Harbour to west of Cape Sir William Grant, including Lawrence Rocks.

Click here or on the map below to enlarge the image.

The control area is initially in place until 15 November 2023 and is designed to reduce the risk of disease transmission to areas of healthy reef, while the VFA and industry assess the extent of the current incident.

Management of this incident will be adaptive and dive surveillance will largely inform the response and management. The VFA is working with commercial divers to undertake surveillance when weather opportunities present, to further understand the dynamics and duration of the disease.

Aquaculture Protection Area

In addition, an area is also closed to all forms of recreational and commercial fishing within 500 metres of the Yumbah abalone farm at Narrawong to minimise the risk of disease transfer from the marine environment into the farm.

Click here or on the map below to enlarge the image.

Abalone Stock Protection Area

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.

To reduce the risk of future spread it is important to remain vigilant to signs of this virus.

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.

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

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.

To find out how you can help reduce the risk of spread, click the link below:

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