Tasmania’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Rod Andrewartha, said that the large number of negative results coming back from the labs is encouraging, as is the surveillance feedback from divers.
“But we do not yet have sufficient evidence from across the various regions to be confident that there is no active disease out there.
“Therefore, the emergency restrictions remain for the time being as a necessary precaution,” Dr Andrewartha said.
“There are still some fisheries that divers have not been able to get into, because of weather and sea conditions. And, even though we have a significant number of negative results from the key sites within the Restricted Area, there is still more surveillance work to be done in that area.”
He said there will be some minor refinement to the current emergency restrictions to allow for fishing in areas that have been difficult to exploit under the existing restrictions.
“In particular, this will make the central west coast more accessible under strict permit conditions so that more divers can get in there to fish the area and do surveillance for us when the weather improves.
“But the restriction on moving abalone across regional boundaries and the ban on abalone fishing in the Southern D’Entrecasteaux Channel will stay until we have more information about the AVG situation.” Dr Andrewartha said.
“During the next two weeks we will be trying to fill in some gaps in our surveillance around the state and we have the support of commercial divers and processors who will help by providing samples from fisheries that we are not diving ourselves.”
Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute divers will be undertaking further surveillance in the Restricted Area.
“The overall task for the next fortnight is to get into a position where we are able to say with confidence whether or not we have active disease out there. Then we may be in a position to start easing some of the current restrictions," he said.
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