The following rules apply for abalone fishing:
recreational abalone licence is required;
- size limits apply and vary by species and area;
- bag and possession limits apply;
- fishing is restricted in some areas; and
- abalone can be taken all year round.
Identifying Abalone Species
Blacklip abalone have a corrugated surface of a red to brown colour with 6-7 open holes with raised edges.
Greenlip abalone have a smooth rounded surface, grey to green colour with 7-8 holes without raised edges.
The minimum size for abalone varies around Tasmania for both
. The maps below show the areas corresponding to the different size limits.
Blacklip Abalone Size Limits
The minimum legal sizes for blacklip abalone are:
- 120 mm from Arthur River east to Musselroe Point; and
- 138 mm for all other waters. See maps below for exact boundaries.
Blacklip Size Limit Boundaries including North Eastern Detail
Greenlip Abalone Size Limits
The minimum legal sizes for greenlip abalone are:
- 132 mm from Montagu east to just past Bridport; and
- 145 mm for all other waters. See maps below for exact boundaries.
Greenlip Size Limit Boundaries including Perkins Bay Detail
Transiting between Size Limit Zones
Fishers cannot possess abalone below the legal minimum legal size specified for that area - see maps above. For example, you cannot transit in waters southward of Arthur River and Musselroe Point with blacklip abalone less than 138 mm. Similarly you can not transit waters west of Montagu and east of Bridport and generally southward of those waters with greenlip abalone less than 145 mm.
Abalone are measured across the widest part of the shell. You must carry a measuring device if you are fishing for abalone. Abalone must be measured as soon as they are detached from a rock and before they are landed to a boat or the shore to avoid damaging fish that can not be kept. This is a legal requirement that also ensures that undersized fish are in their best condition when replaced.
Detached abalone should be replaced on the rock as you found them and not left upside down or on a sandy bottom. Abalone that have been cut will bleed to death so care in handling is needed.
Before you shuck or shell abalone, they must be brought ashore above the high-water-mark. Even better, take your whole catch home and dispose of fish waste with your household rubbish to prevent the spread of fish diseases.
Get your free abalone measuring gauge at any Service Tasmania.
Bag and Possession Limits
If you have a recreational abalone diving licence then you can have:
- a personal bag limit of ten abalone per day.
- a possession limit of up to 20 abalone applies. This possession limit applies everywhere, including the home residence.
If you do not have a licence, you may not take, but you can possess up to five abalone without a receipt while on land. If you possess more than this number you will need to keep receipts for purchases. If you don't have a abalone licence you can not possess abalone while on State waters.
You cannot take abalone on behalf of another licence holder. You cannot sell recreationally caught abalone.
There are restrictions on the taking of abalone in the following areas:
- Waterwitch Reef Research Area: no dive fishing.
- Kent Group Marine Nature Reserve: no fishing or setting of fishing gear in part of the reserve.
- Inner Sister Island Research Area: no dive fishing.
- Swan Island Research Area: no dive fishing.
- Bay or Fires Research Area: no abalone fishing in the research area.
- Elephant Rock Research Area: no dive fishing or use of rock lobster pots and rings.
- Governor Island Marine Nature Reserve: no fishing or setting of fishing gear.
- Maria Island Marine Nature Reserve: no fishing or setting of fishing gear in part of the reserve.
- North Bay Research Area: no dive fishing or use of rock lobster pots and rings.
- Taroona Waters (Crayfish Point): no swimming, diving, netting, potting or rings and no take or possession of abalone and rock lobster within the reserve. Also, no taking, fishing or possession of abalone and rock lobster whilst swimming or diving within 200 m of Taroona waters reserve.
- Tinderbox Marine Nature Reserve: no fishing or setting of fishing gear.
- Ninepin PointMarine Nature Reserve: no fishing or setting of fishing gear.
- George III Rock Research Area: no swimming, diving or anchoring.
- Port Davey/Bathurst Harbour Marine Nature Reserve: no fishing or setting of fishing gear in part of the reserve.
- Doughboys Research Area: no dive fishing.
- Macquarie Island Marine Nature Reserve: no fishing or setting of fishing gear.
- Marine Farming Lease Areas: no fishing without the permission of the leaseholder.
- No Possession Zones: No possession zones for abalone have been declared in the northern Bass Strait to lower the risk of spreading
Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis to Tasmanian waters.
For information and maps about abalone reserves and research areas, see the
Marine Reserves and
Fishery Research Areas pages on this website.
Abalone Biosecurity Area
To lower the risk of Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis (AVG) entering from Victorian waters, an abalone biosecurity area has been declared north of Flinders and King Islands. 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.
Bass Strait Abalone Biosecurity Area
Public Health Alerts
There are occasional restrictions on eating abalone from due to toxic algal blooms. Check for
current Public Health Warnings
*To report any signs of AVG, phone the DPIPWE Disease Watch Hotline (24hrs) ph: 1800 675 888
Illustrations by Peter Gouldthorpe