More dead and diseased abalone have been found in coastal waters near Portland.
- More diseased abalone have been detected in waters near Portland
- The control area remains in place
- Fishing is prohibited and boats cannot be anchored within the control area
Abalone viral ganglioneuritis (AVG) was first detected in the area on May 1, more than 10 years since it was last recorded.
It had been hoped it was an isolated outbreak, but more affected clusters have now been found at Murrell’s and Jones Bay reefs, west of Portland, within the control area established by Agriculture Victoria.
AVG 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.
The viral disease wiped out up to 80 per cent of wild abalone in the Western Zone Abalone Fishery after being detected in 2006, affecting more than 300 kilometres of coastline before slowly dissipating.
‘A kick in the guts’
Harry Peeters, executive officer with the Western Abalone Divers Association, previously told the ABC that the outbreak was still fresh in the minds of those involved in the industry
“No one expected this. I guess it was always in the back of our mind that it could happen, but things have been looking good and the abalone reefs have been looking healthy.”
On the move
The control area extends along the coastline from Bridgewater Bay in the west, to past Narrawong in the east.
Fishing is prohibited and boats cannot be anchored in the control area, although vessels can pass through.
Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Graeme Cooke could not say how long the control area would be in place.
“Surveillance results will better shape our understanding of the extent of disease spread, with dive surveys taking place across reef areas in the control area,” he said.