Catch and Closures

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Minimum Size Limits and Catch Limits apply to commercially caught native Periwinkles and Shortspined Sea Urchin. When the catch limit for a species and fishery part is reached it is seasonally closed for the remainder of the licensing year (1 Sep to 31 Aug).

Current closures and limits are displayed below, together with catch updates. Within-season catch data cannot be disclosed (ND) until that area has been fished by five or more divers. Only data entered in the NRE Tas Fisheries FILMS database is included.

The data below was last updated on: 20 May 2024

Periwinkles (Lunella undulata) - 45mm minimum size

Total Catch Limit for 2023/24 season - 54​​​​ tonnes

Fishery PartCatch Limit (t)
Total Caught (t)Total Left (t)
CLOSED​ from 12:01am 21.02.24 to 31.08.24

Catch Cap Areas

Fishery Part
Sub-blocks​ Area Name​ Cap (t)​ Caught​ (t) Status​
​12C, 12D, 13A & 13B

Shortspined Sea Urchin (Heliocidaris erythrogramma) - 80mm minimum size

Total Catch Limit ​for 2023/24 season - 175 tonnes

Fishery Part
Catch Limit (t)
Total ​Caught (t)
Total Left (t)

Catch Cap Areas

Fishery Part Sub-blocks Area Name Cap (t) Caught (t) Status
30DGeorges Bay
CLOSED from 12:01am 4.10.23 to 31.08.24
NE29D, 30A & 30BSt Helens1314.1
CLOSED from 12:01am 19.09.23 to 31.08.24​​
CE24A, 24B & 24CMercury Passage15
CLOSED from 12:01am 09.11.23 to 31.08.24​​​​​
CE26B, 26C & 26DColes Bay13.5
CLOSED from 12:01am 31.10.23 to 31.08.24​​​​
18Derwent River 6
CLOSED from 12:01am 19.10.23 to 31.08.24​​​
SE19BDodges, Sloping Island157.6

Longspined Sea Urch​in (Centrostephanus rodgersii) - no size limit

Catch tally and annual comparisons (tonnes; no catch limit)

2023/24 to date (t)22/23 21/22 20/21 19/20 18/19 17/18 16/17 15/16

Biosecurity closures: biotoxins and disease

Market Access Requirements

The following are required to maintain export market access and are recommended to protect domestic markets.
  1. Batch-test any fish taken from sub-blocks that are closed to commercial abalone fishing due to elevated Paralytic Shellfish Toxin (PST) levels. Currently: 24A, 24B, 24C, 25, 26A, 26B, 26C, and 30A.
  2. In the absence of abalone data, batch-test any fish taken from areas where monitoring programs indicate that the PST risk is significantly elevated.

Biotoxin Management Framework

The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), and Natural Resources Environment Tasmania (NRE Tas) through Biosecurity Tasmania (BT), the ShellMAP program, and Wild Fisheries Management Branch have the authority to close fishing areas in accordance with elevated biotoxin levels and disease outbreaks.

The PST risk profile for Tasmanian urchins and periwinkles are still being researched (as at 2023). Once determined, the profiles will be used to develop a Biotoxin Risk Management Plan specific to the Tasmanian Commercial Dive Fishery.

In the interim, a precautionary approach linked to abalone PST closures and general sampling must be taken to meet DAFF export requirements and protect consumers.

To maintain access to export markets, and in the absence of urchin/periwinkle PST risk profiles, DAFF applies the Tasmanian Abalone Fishery Biotoxin Management Plan to urchins and periwinkles. This means that any sub-block closed to commercial abalone fishing due to elevated PST levels requires urchins and periwinkles taken from those areas to be batch-tested for PSTs prior to export.  

When a monitoring program detects elevated PSTs in commercial abalone fishing areas, abalone sampling is triggered, followed by closures if the PST thresholds are reached (see flow diagram).

To protect consumers in the domestic market, batch-testing is recommended for urchins and periwinkles taken in areas closed to commercial abalone fishing due to PSTs, and in other areas where monitoring programs indicate that PST risk is significantly elevated.

ShellMAP publish current closures for shellfish harvest areas, and the latest results for all monitoring programs are available in the Biotoxin News. Fishing Tasmania also publish biotoxin events and alerts affecting fishers.

Biotoxin Threshold Flowchart

Click on the image to view in high resolution


    Commercial Dive Management
    Level 3, 134 Macquarie Street
    GPO Box 44
    HOBART TAS 7001
    Phone: 0457 124 668
    Email: commercial.fishe​


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    Recreational Fishing

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    Hobart TAS 7000

    Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647


    Commercial Fisheries

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    GPO Box 44

    Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550


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    Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

    GPO Box 44

    Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550