The Tasmanian abalone biosecurity project was initiated by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Wild Fisheries) and the Tasmanian wild abalone industry in response to an outbreak of abalone viral ganglioneuritis in the Victorian abalone fishery during late 2005. A formal risk assessment of abalone production activities in Tasmania was undertaken, the results of which were used to guide implementation strategies of the Tasmanian abalone biosecurity project. The risk assessment concluded that movements of live abalone in the wild fishery sector represented an unacceptable risk for spread of abalone herpes virus (AbHV) in Tasmanian State waters. Live-holding facilities in Tasmania routinely hold wild-caught live abalone in tanks preceding export. Prior to November 1, 2011, live-holding water was discharged to the marine environment without any treatment or consideration of potential pathogens. Currently, all processors that hold abalone that have been transported long distances must treat their live-holding discharge water to specifications set by the Department and outlined herein. There is limited information available on inactivation of AbHV; however, considering the magnitude of the risk and the value of the Tasmanian abalone fishery, the Department and industry have put measures in place to minimize the risk of potential spread of disease. The decontamination standards presented are based on available information relating to morphology, relative susceptibility, and hardiness of aquatic herpes viruses. The aim of treating water outflow from abalone processors is to avoid the spread of AbHV in Tasmanian State waters. Treatment, however, will also limit spread of other potential novel pathogens that may arise in the future.
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Vol. 32 • No. 1