Abalone - Greenlip

Other names: abs, muttonfish

Scientific name: Haliotis laevigata

Licence: Licence required

Area restrictions: See size limit maps showing the areas corresponding to the different size limits for greenlip abalone and the abalone biosecurity area in northern Bass Strait. You are allowed to take abalone within 50 metres of the shore of any island in the biosecurity area but the abalone cannot be taken or possessed elsewhere in the area.

Minimum size: 132 mm from Montagu east to Bridport, 145 mm for all other waters.  See size limit maps for exact boundaries.

Bag limit: 10 (species combined) 

Possession limit: 20 (species combined).  Non-licensed possession limit: 5.

Rules: See Abalone Fishing. 

Measuring: Abalone are measured across the widest part of the shell.

Identifying features: Greenlip abalone have smooth, oval shaped shells with a low spire and a row of respiratory holes around the edge.  The grey to green coloured shells have a pearly lining.  They have green tentacles and a large muscular foot with a green edge by which they attach to rocks and crevices.  The shells on larger abalone are often covered by algae and other small marine invertebrates.

Grows to: Up to 23 cm.

Habitat: Greenlip abalone tend to congregate on the edge of reefs and boulders near sand or seagrass beds.  Found mainly in the north of Tasmania where they live in areas of high turbulence around the north coast and Bass Strait islands.

Fishing information: Greenlip abalone are taken recreationally by diving.  They feed by trapping drifting seaweeds with the front part of the foot or by grazing on algae and seagrasses.  Growth rates vary with location and time of year. 

Responsible fishing tips: Help prevent the spread of Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis by cleaning and drying all boats, fishing and diving equipment between fishing trips.  Retain all abalone waste including shells and offal and dispose of it in land-based facilities or your household rubbish. If you catch a tagged abalone, please record the tag details and report to the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Research.

Handling: Try to size abalone before you remove it.  Do not leave abalone upside down or on a sandy bottom.  Abalone that have been cut will bleed to death so take care in handling.

Public Health advice: Follow any public health alerts relating to eating wild shellfish - refer to the Department of Health and Human Services or phone their hotline on 1800 671 738.

Cooking: Greenlip is considered the best tasting of Tasmanian abalone and has a slightly stronger flavour than blacklip.  Abalone meat has low oil content and a distinctive subtle flavour.  It has a dense white flesh which may need tenderising.  Use whole or sliced.  

Fish illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe

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