Abalone Disease Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis (AVG), also known as abalone disease, is a viral disease which affects the nervous system of abalone and results in curling of the foot, swelling of the mouth which leads to weakness and death of abalone. AVG has no known effects on human health.
Update 20 August 2021 The Control Order was re-signed by the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) on 20 August 2021, with no changes having been made to the Control Area since 10 July 2021. Restrictions within the Control Area remain unchanged and unlikely to change until revoked.
22 July 2021 The Control Order was re-signed by the Chief Veterinary Officer on 16 July 2021, with no changes made to the Control Area. A routine surveillance dive of Yumbah intake pipes and surrounds was completed on 14 July 2021 by Fisheries Officers. Samples taken all testing negative. AVG was confirmed in suspect abalone collected in Bully Cove / South Bridgewater reef code on 9 July 2021 by commercial divers. This reef code is within the Control Area.
10 July 2021 From Saturday 10 July 2021, the southern boundary of the abalone viral ganglioneuritis (AVG) Control Area has been reduced offshore to about 40 metre depth to allow increased commercial and recreational fishing, where the Control Area no longer applies. In addition to the offshore boundary being reduced, the eastern boundary has been adjusted to align with the Cape Grant landmark. A Control Area remains in place from about a kilometre west of Cape Bridgewater lookout to Cape Grant in the east, where AVG has been found. A precautionary Fisheries Notice remains in place which restricts fishing, boating and diving 500 metres around the aquaculture farm near Narrawong.
Disease has not been detected on any Victorian aquaculture sites.
3 July 2021 A small extension to the western boundary of the Control Area, taking in Bridgewater/Bully Cove reef code as a new buffer area, came into effect at 12:00 am on 3 July 2021. This followed the detection of AVG in abalone collected during surveillance dives at Seal Caves reef code on 30 June 2021. Restrictions within the new CA remain unchanged (see map below).
26 June 2021 As of the 26 June, boating, diving and fishing resumes in Portland and Discovery Bay in time for the first school holiday weekend with the abalone disease Control Area reduced in size. The new Control Area – which spans from the western tip of Bridgewater Bay to Cape Sir William Grant some eight kilometres west of Portland – is effective from 12am Saturday (26 June). Fishing and boating restrictions no longer apply east of Cape Grant through to Narrawong (which includes Portland) and Discovery Bay in the west.
The disease outbreak had been detected in an isolated area in the wild at Cape Nelson 1 May 2021 .
The disease was likely triggered by stress created by the extreme storm/swell event that occurred on and around April 11. The massive 10m plus swells that battered the south-west coast caused significant disruption and trauma to the marine habitat where the abalone reside. The environmental damage was observed by divers prior to the outbreak.
We are extremely grateful that the diver who detected damaged abalone and suspected AVG infection immediately took the samples, left the water, and communicated his suspicions to authorities at once. The authority confirmed the outbreak of AVG the next day.
Testing on farm confirms no virus in the aquaculture facilities and diving observations across the zone over the past fortnight have not revealed any other outbreaks.
Agriculture Vic – Biosecurity has established a Control Order which is essentially a tool that will help control the virus spread and hopefully contain it to the Cape Nelson area.
VFA has put in place an emergency response plan that enables permits and management of the controlled area. SIV, on behalf of all commercial licence holders, supports the Control Order to help contain the possible spread of AVG, for reasons associated with sustainability of the environment, local economies and protection of a public resource.
On 23 May, the Control Area was extended west following further detections. The new Control Area now spans from past Lower Cape Bridgewater in the west to past Narrawong in the east between 2 and 10 Kilometers offshore.
The disease has also been confirmed from samples taken off the reefs at Murrells and Jones Bay west of Portland, well within the original Control Area.
On the 23 May the Control Area was amended to allow line fishing without sinker attached. All other restrictions remain in place for the Control Area.
Outside the control area, fishing, diving and boating can occur as normal.
Fishing for tuna is allowed inside the Control Area with an unweighted line.
Taking your boat out from the Portland boat ramp as long as you don’t anchor or use any weighted fishing equipment in the Control Area.
Fishing with a line from the breakwater provided you’re standing on the breakwater.
Swimming, surfing, paddle boarding or walking in the Control Area.
Cleaning your boat with a high-pressure sprayer and detergent after a day on the water
What's not allowed
Taking of abalone and other shellfish
Use of weighted commercial fishing equipment, commercial abalone equipment, recreation hoop nets, bait traps, hauling nets.
Practice of both commercial and recreational diving for abalone
Taking of rock lobster, all shellfish, sea urchins and any of the substrate or sea floor
Movement of any abalone or shellfish out of the control area unless the movement is in accordance with a permit issued by an inspector.
Snorkelling and diving.
Special arrangements are in place for boats required to anchor in the Portland anchorage area