Ganglioneuritis virus: Fears for future of abalone industry

Date of publication : 4/28/2008
Source : ABC News Australia
There are fears a deadly shellfish virus could infect Tasmanian and South Australian waters within months.

Tasmania's Abalone Council is supporting calls for a ban on human activity on stretches of the Victorian coastline.

The ganglioneuritis virus has jumped 20 kilometres along the Victorian coastline towards Port Philip Bay.

Dean Lisson from the Tasmanian Abalone Council says the virus is spreading quickly.

"I think there's every chance that some time in the next few months we're going to see an incursion into South Australia, if not Tasmania,"  he said.

Mr Lisson is critical of the Victorian Government for failing to act and he has called for a trial of a ban on human activity.

"We can sit back and wait for the disease to spread and of course if we do nothing that's exactly what's going to happen,"  he said.

"I say to them if even if there is some doubt about the effectiveness of quarantining of some sections of the Victorian coastline that they should try it they should agree to try it we're asking for a relatively small section of the coastline".

Fisheries Victoria says an earlier attempt to isolate the virus was unsuccessful.

Mr Lisson says the Victorian Government has also failed to phase out the dumping of effluent from aquaculture facilities.

"Grossly incompetent - that's a very strong term, but I think if you look at the history of what's happened so far or rather what hasn't happened in terms of the way the Victorian Government has managed or rather not managed this issue it's a fairly viable conclusion I believe,"  he said.
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