Abalone Disease Outbreak Still Active in Portland | Control Area Extended


As our south-west recfishers will be aware, there has been an ongoing abalone disease outbreak in Portland since May 2021.

Abalone Virus Ganglioneuritis (AVG), according to Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer, affects the nervous system of abalone, resulting in curling of the foot and swelling of the mouth leading to weakness and death, with about 90 per cent of affected abalone dying. There are no known effects on human health.

In May 2021, wild abalone off the coast of Cape Nelson tested positive for AVG. This prompted a response from Agriculture Victoria and the Victorian Fisheries Authority to declare a control area in the south west. Since then, the restrictions to the area have been updated following regular surveys, testing and surveillance.


The Victorian Fisheries Authority have a Fisheries Notice in place to prohibit the recreational and commercial take of abalone and rock lobster within the control area shown in the map below.

This Notice will be in effect until 12 February 2022. It covers the specified waters shown in the map below (the shaded areas from Whites Beach to Horseshoe Bay and Yellow Rock to Crayfish Bay, Portland) and Lawrence Rocks.

In the restricted areas, the red shaded areas on the map above, you cannot take abalone or rock lobster, possess abalone or rock lobster, or use any equipment made to take abalone or rock lobster including an abalone tool or hoop net.


There is also a Fisheries Notice in place to protect the abalone aquaculture farm near Portland. Unfortunately, despite the restrictions in the area, the Victorian Fisheries Authority have reported that lots of boats have continued to go into the restricted area. If you are boating around Portland, please be aware that this notice prohibits anyone from fishing, diving and anchoring within 500 metres of the farm’s inlet pipes (refer to the map below showing the protection area on the right). Line fishing from the shore is allowed.



Moving boats and other vessels from waters with marine pests to new locations can increase the risk of spreading these pests to new waters.

All users of the marine environment have a role to play to avoid spreading marine pests to other locations. Parks Victoria have suggested using good vessel hygiene through the ‘Clean. Check. Dry’ method.

Good vessel hygiene through the ‘Clean, Check, Dry’ method means:
1. Check any equipment and vessels that have been in marine waters for pests
2. Clean them in freshwater
3. Dry the equipment before moving to a new marine location.

Other tips to help prevent the spread of marine pests:

  • Use fresh water to throughly wash down boats, vessels, fishing gear, wetsuits, water toys and other marine equipment after use.
  • Dry boats, vessels and other marine equipment throughly before moving to other locations.
  • When moving boats and marine equipment from areas known to have marine pests, particularly Port Phillip Bay, be vigilant in using the ‘clean, check, dry’ method before entering other waters.

Download Parks Victoria’s ‘Check. Clean. Dry’ handout for more information.

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

The following video from the Victorian Fisheries Authority shows what a diseased abalone looks like.

Recommended for you

Subscribe to our mailing list

Join our 50,000+ subscribers in receiving our Fishing Lines News delivered straight to your inbox. Don’t miss out on all the issues affecting your fishing, projects improving your fishing and opportunities to have your say about your fishery.

* indicates required
Communication Preferences (tick all that apply)