Abalone Management Plan Amendments

​2019 Abalone Rule Amendments

Amendments have been made to the Tasmanian Abalone Fishery Management Plan - Fisheries (Abalone) Rules 2017

The following changes apply from 1 November 2019:
  • An Eastern Region bag limit of five (5) abalone, with the Western Region to remain at 10.  The Eastern Region is the same region as used for the rock lobster fishery - eastward of Port Sorell to the East Coast and down to Whale Head in the South East.
  • A state-wide possession limit of 10 abalone.
  • The introduction of an Eastern Region boat limit of 25 abalone. A boat limit will not apply for the Western Region.
  • The possession limit for non-fishers (on land) reduced to two (down from five).
  • Deeming any abalone in the possession of a child less than 10 years old to be possessed by the supervising adult.
  • Restrict the age for issuing a fishing licence (recreational abalone) to 10 years and older.
  • Allowing the holder of a fishing licence (recreational abalone) or an Aboriginal person engaged an Aboriginal activity to shuck one abalone per day on a boat.
  • Defining a measuring device as: (a) Vernier calliper; or (b) a gauge, knife or abalone iron with prominent markings or extended prongs that indicates the minimum size limits for abalone.
  • Removing the requirement for all commercial fishers to measure each abalone immediately after they are detached from the rock. (Removing the requirement for commercial fishers to measure each abalone does not provide a defence for possessing undersize abalone).
  • Defining a tool to take abalone as:
    • An abalone iron, which is a broadly flat-bladed, chisel like lever not less than 18 mm in width; or
    • A commercially manufactured knife with a blade not less than 18mm wide excluding that part of the blade that is within 50mm of the tip. 
    • Note Aboriginal persons engaged in an Aboriginal activity are not required to use defined tools. They may use traditional devices.
  • Prohibiting fishing for abalone at night between sunset and sunrise.

From 1 January 2020 several administrative and minor amendments will be included for commercial fishery operational purposes including:

  • reflecting the implementation of the increased size limit for the commercial fishery, north of the Arthur River by amending the definition of northern area.
  • Adding Stanley, Smithton and Woolnorth Anchorage as new designated ports where commercial fishers are allowed to land abalone.
  • Adding Little Musselroe Bay as a landing area (commences 1 November 2019).

​Why are these changes being implemented?

The primary aims of the 2019 review were to consider aspects of the recreational fishery in relation to risks of localised depletion, improve fish handling practices and address compliance risks in the non-commercial fishery (recreational fishery and an Aborigine engaged in an Aboriginal activity).  

There are a range of abalone stock issues in various parts of the state.  To a large degree, applying management actions to the commercial fishery will address key aspects of the sustainability issues.  

However, there are serious concerns for abalone stocks along portions of the East Coast which indicate there is the need for corresponding management responses.  The commercial take in some areas has already been limited to a small amount.

As the East Coast is a popular destination for the recreational abalone sector, these changes will assist in the pathway of sustainability for East Coast abalone.

Abalone recruit very locally with little importing of larvae from further afield, once an area is depleted recovery of stocks can be very problematic.

Given the concerns for abalone stocks are on a regional basis, the changes are targeting where it is most warranted.  

There are increasing concerns and issues regarding illegal activity for abalone under the guise of legitimate recreational fishing.  The new measures will increase the capacity for Tasmania Police to tackle these issues.  Effective compliance is integral to sustainable management for a valuable fishery.  Every abalone taken should be regarded as a prized and valuable catch.

Key documents

The Information Paper containing background information on proposed amendments that was released for public comment in June 2019:

  Information Paper - Proposed amendments to the Abalone Fishery Management Plan 2019 (338Kb)

Report on submissions

Report to the Minister on submissions on proposed abalone rule amendments:


Wild Fisheries Management Branch
Level 3, 134 Macquarie Street
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 03 6165 3000, 1300 368 550
Email: fishing.enquiries@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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