Abalone - Blacklip

​Other names: abs, muttonfish

Scientific name: Haliotis rubra

Licence: Licence​ required.​ You must be 10 years or older to hold an abalone licence. 

restrictions: See size limit maps showing the areas corresponding to the different size limits for blacklip abalone and the abalone biosecurity area in northern Bass Strait. You are allowed to take abalone within 50 metres of the shore of any island in the biosecurity area but the abalone cannot be taken or possessed elsewhere in the area. For more detail​s, see Abalone Fishing​ page. 

Minimum size: 120 mm from Arthur River east to Musselroe Point, 138 mm for all other waters. See size limit maps for exact boundaries.

Bag limit10 abalone (species combined). 

Possession limit: 20 abalone (specie​​​s combined). 

Non-licensed possession limit: On land: 5 abalone; On state waters: 0 abalone; Child under 10: 0 abalone.  

Rules: For details about Measuring tools, Abalone tools, Shucking and Eating Abalone and No night fishing, see Abalone Fishing page. 

Measuring: Abalone are measured across the widest part of the shell.

Identifying features: Blacklip abalone have rough, oval shells with a low spire and a distinctive row of holes around the edge.  The shell is a red to brown colour with fine spiral ridges and a pearly lining.  They have a large muscular foot with a black edge by which they attach to rocks and crevices.  The shells on larger abalone are often covered by algae and other small marine invertebrates.

Grows to:  Up to 21 cm.

Habitat:  Blacklip abalone live subtidally in more exposed reef environmen​ts in areas of high wave energy.  They shelter in rocky crevices and gutters, moving out onto rocky, kelp covered bottom at night to feed.

Fishing information: Blacklip are the most common species of abalone in Tasmania where they are taken recreationally by diving.  They feed by trapping drifting seaweeds with the front part of the foot or by grazing on algae and seagrasses.  Growth rates vary with location and time of year. 
Responsible fishing tips: 
  • Help prevent the spread of Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis by cleaning and drying all boats, fishing and diving equipment between fishing trips.  
  • ​Retain all abalone waste including shells and offal and dispose of it in land-based facilities or your household rubbish. 
  • If you catch a tagged abalone, please record the tag details and report to the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Research​
  • Highgrading your catch is not allowed, see Catch Limits​​ Definitions​​.

Handling: Try to size abalone before you remove it.  Do not leave abalone upside down or on a sandy bottom.  Abalone that have been cut will bleed to death so take care in handling.

Public Health advice: Follow any public health alerts relating to eating wild shellfish - refer to the Department of Health and Human Services or phone their hotline on 1800 671 738.

Cooking: Abalone meat has low oil content and a distinctive subtle flavour.  It has a dense white flesh which may need tenderising.  Use whole or sliced.

Fish illustrations by Peter Gouldthorpe
Fish for the Future