Abalone virus fishing ban

FISHING BAN: There will be a fishing ban for abalone near Southend. Picture: FILE

THERE has been a temporary closure of collecting abalone and diving for other benthic aquatic animals between Stanway Point near Southend.

It comes following a positive detection of the abalone viral ganglioneuritis in wild abalone.

On May 14, the presence of the herpes virus was confirmed in abalone collected by a recreational fisher in the area.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) implemented a closure area to reduce the risk of human-induced spread of the virus from the site while the extent of the recent outbreak is established.

The closure area includes coastal areas from approximately 750m southeast of Blowhole Road in Beachport to a location on Canunda Beach approximately 19km southeast of Cape Buffon in Southend and approximately 10 nautical miles out to sea.

The collection of abalone by diving or collecting shells from the beach area, as well as the collection of benthic aquatic animals such as rock lobster and turbo shells by diving are prohibited.

The collection of pipi’s is still allowed.

The closure is expected to last until June 30 with the virus able to spread through the movement of infected abalone or abalone products such as tissue, offal, shell or mucus as well as diving equipment and people who have come into contact with infected abalone or bottom habitat.

The virus is caused by a mollusc herpes virus which only infects abalone and its nervous system, causing weakness and eventually death.

To help spread the disease, South Australians state-wide are encouraged to check all vessels, fishing, diving and surfing equipment and remove anything including water, sand or seaweed.

They are also encouraged to clean boats at home or at a commercial car wash, wash their wetsuits, fishing and diving equipment with fresh, soapy water before drying all boating, fishing and diving equipment completely before heading out into the water again.