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Tassie toughens law to contain abalone threat

Salmonids Freshwater fish +1 more

AUSTRALIA - Tasmania is to toughen protocols in Parliament today on abalone handling in an attempt to strengthen the states capacity to deal with a deadly ganglioneuritis abalone virus outbreak in Victorian waters.

The move is a part of the Tasmanian Government’s steps to increase its Fisheries Department’s biosecurity powers.

A bill is expected to be tabled by David Llewellyn, Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industry and Waters, giving him the authority to introduce protocols and processes to help prevent the virus taking hold in Tasmania.

Abalone Council spokesman, Dean Lisson from the says the changes are essential to protect the state’s abalone industry. Mr Lisson claimed the proposed protection measures will cover the entire range of abalone industry activities from the transport and storage to the treatment of fish farm effluent.

"We understand and appreciate that for the minister to adequately deal with the risk of this disease he needs to have a suite of protocols and procedures that can be implemented and complied with 100 percent," he was reported as having said.

"And we can't really expect him to do that unless he has the mandatory powers that enable him to enforce compliance."

"Unless people follow the new sets of rules and procedures that are developed then they can be prosecuted or dealt with in some way."