Australian Government Supplied

Abalone Virus Detected In South Australia’s Breaksea Reef

An Abalone diver in South Australia has detected a disease that kills the molluscs at Breaksea Reef, near Port Macdonnell.

Dead and dying abalones were reported by a commercial abalone fisher last Wednesday, with thirty samples submitted to the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA).

Stay up-to-date on the latest news with The South Australia Briefing – keeping you in the loop with news as it hits:

The test result has confined the presence of abalone viral ganglioneuritis (AVG), also known as infection with abalone herpesvirus (AbHV), infection with haliotid herpesvirus 1 (HaHV-1) and abalone viral mortality.

A control zone, restricting all fishing activities, was subsequently established from Nene Valley, located 23km south-west of Mount Gambier, to the Victorian border, encompassing an extension of approximately 10km into the sea.

Despite multiple discoveries of AVG in Victoria’s south-west in recent years, it is the first time the disease has been detected in South Australia. 

RELATED:   Sex Work In 2024: How Did We Get Here?

Port MacDonnell fisherman Chris Carrision told ABC that the local community produced about 150 tonnes per year, with prices currently at $35 to $40 per kilogram.

“Unfortunately for the Victorian industry, they have struggled to recover from it. Like literally, decimated that industry,” Mr Carrision said.

He hoped the organisation would “get on top of it as soon as possible” to ease some pressure from local fishing industries.

“I can tell you now, every abalone diver here feels for every other fisherman.”

People are encouraged to check, clean and dry all vessels and equipment before heading out onto the water again by PIRSA.

The department has also urged anyone who finds dead or dying abalone across SA to contact the Fishwatch Hotline or report on the SA Fishing app.

Subscribe to The Briefing, Australia’s fastest-growing news podcast on LiSTNR today. The Briefing serves up the latest news and deep dives on topics affecting you, all in under 20 minutes.