Wednesday, 22 February 2023


Mallacoota abalone industry

Mallacoota abalone industry

Tim BULL (Gippsland East) (19:09): (55) My adjournment is to the Minister for Outdoor Recreation, which is somewhat of a misnomer, because my adjournment relates to the commercial fishing sector, and that is certainly not outdoor recreation. But regardless, the action that I am seeking is for the minister to take action, both short and long term, to protect the Mallacoota abalone industry from the threat of sea urchin invasion. These urchins are growing in number as they make their way down south, and they are increasingly destroying abalone grounds at quite an alarming rate.

The government has been aware of this issue for quite some time and would also be aware that the abalone industry workers have expended an enormous amount of time and effort already at their own expense to try to combat this invasion, but it has become quite overwhelming for them, and they are at the stage now where they need support, because they are losing this fight. The industry is the biggest employer in the town, and I am sure a lot of members in this chamber would know what an important export industry the abalone sector provides in this state.

So I call on the minister to develop a long-term master plan, but in the interim while that is being developed, because it will take some time, to also give some thought to what short-term actions can be put in place. When these urchins take over they develop things called barrens. There is absolutely nothing there on the rocks, and they remove the habitat that the abalone need to survive. In Tasmania the government introduced a subsidy to assist with the control of urchins, because they have realised the threat to their industry. We simply need to stop this incursion onto new grounds, and I ask the minister to please take action, both short and long term, to assist this industry that is absolutely critical to my electorate of East Gippsland but more importantly to the community of Mallacoota.