Abalone Divers, Western Victoria, Australia

Since 2002 Dr Prince has developed a methodology for reef scale assessment and management for the Western Abalone Divers Association (WADA).

Building on an idea given to him by a Western Australian abalone diver, Dr Prince taught the abalone divers how to visually assess their own abalone reefs and facilitated workshops for WADA which assessed and developed management plans for each reef. Catch targets and size limits are now implemented by WADA at the scale of abalone reefs, below the scale of the government’s zonal assessment model. Regional Total Allowable Catches are being set on the locally assessed capacity of each reef and are lower than the level zonal assessment models suggest is sustainable. Supported by Australian Commonwealth Government R&D funding in 2005 this new form of bottom-up assessment and management for the Victorian abalone fishery has been incorporated into the statutory Fisheries Management Plan.

Dr Prince has Australian Commonwealth Government R&D funding in 2011/12 to trial his newly developed technique for empirically estimating SPR at size, to estimate size targets for catch composition data collected from each reef by WADA divers.