Open days sched released for recreational take of abalone in Victoria

The Department of Primary Industries
The Department of Primary Industries released on Thursday the 60 nominated days allotted for recreational take of abalone from the marine waters of Victoria.

Central Victorian waters extend east of the mouth of the Aire River to the most north-western part of Arch Rock (near Cape Liptrap), including Port Phillip Bay and Western Port.

Fisheries Victoria Executive Director Anthony Hurst said the first open days begin on the weekend of 24 and 25 November 2012.

'Most open days are on weekends and public holidays including twelve consecutive days over Christmas and four over Easter,' Mr Hurst said.

Divers are reminded the statewide abalone bag limit is five, of which no more than two can be greenlip. The limit applies in, on or adjacent to Victorian waters. However, greenlip abalone cannot be taken from Port Phillip Bay.

A possession limit of a total of 10 abalone applies anywhere in Victoria.

The minimum size limit for blacklip abalone is 12cm from the mouth of the Hopkins River to

Lorne, 11cm from Lorne to Lakes Entrance (excluding Port Phillip Bay which is 10cm) and 12cm from Lakes Entrance to the New South Wales border (excluding the Mallacoota airport area which is 11cm).

The minimum size of 13cm for blacklip abalone remains from the mouth of the Hopkins River
to the South Australian border to help rebuild western stocks affected by abalone disease.

The disease has no known or likely impacts for human health.

Abalone divers are encouraged to help minimize the risk of spreading the disease by following good biosecurity practices including: Washing vessels, wetsuits, dive equipment and their hands with soapy freshwater, Removing all marine organic matter from vessels and equipment, and Disposing of abalone shell, meat and gut with their household waste.

Abalone divers are reminded they must carry a measuring device and only use a blunt lever with rounded ends to harvest abalone.

'The 60 nominated open days in central waters are listed on a water-resistant pocket card to help recreational divers better plan their trips.

The free pocket cards and abalone measures are available by ringing the DPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186,' Mr. Hurst said.

Taking abalone from the intertidal zone (waters less than 2m deep) is prohibited along the entire Victorian coast.

Fisheries Victoria plans to review the effectiveness of the open days arrangements as a continuing means of preventing illegal fishing.

Here are the 60 Open days for 2012-2013:

The 60 nominated days for 2012-13
The Department of Primary Industries