A significant leap has been taken to help keep Victoria’s abalone safe and healthy.

A comprehensive new Code of Practice that has been developed in close consultation with industry stakeholders is a milestone initiative poised to ensure the safety and sustainability of Victoria’s abalone populations.

Agriculture Victoria Principal Veterinary Officer, Aquatic Animal Health, Dr Tracey Bradley, said the Code of Practice is a significant enhancement of biosecurity measures.

“This Code of Practice, a collaborative effort with key industry players who catch, process and grow abalone, represents a significant enhancement of biosecurity measures in place for Victoria’s abalone industry,” Dr Bradley said.

The primary goal of the Code is to minimise the risk of outbreaks and the spread of abalone viral ganglioneuritis (AVG), a viral disease that affects the nervous system and can lead to weakness and death of abalone.

This objective is to adopt the standardised operating procedures across the industry.

AVG presents a significant threat to both wild and farmed abalone populations, underscoring the urgency of effective control measures.

The virus first made its appearance in southern Victoria in late 2005 without previously being recorded in Australia. During that time, it was declared a notifiable disease under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994.

“It’s imperative that we do everything possible to protect our abalone from this disease,” Dr Bradley said.

“Given the recent incidents of AVG affecting abalone in the Portland area, it’s more important than ever to prioritise collaboration across the industry.

“The Code of Practice provides clear guidelines and procedures to prevent the devastating impact of AVG.”

The virus can spread through water but is fragile and doesn’t last long outside of a host.

It is essential for everyone involved in catching, growing, or processing abalones to adhere to the Code of Practice.

For more information, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/biosecurity/animal-diseases/aquatic-animal-diseases/abalone-disease