Implications of the dichotomy between the spatial scales at which abalone are managed and harvested


Correspondence: R. A. Bedford, School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, RMIT University, 124 La Trobe Street, Melbourne 3001, Australia (e-mail:


Commercial abalone divers make decisions about the location of their harvesting activities at a relatively fine scale. Management of these abalone fisheries, however, is normally conducted at a larger scale. To gauge the implications of this dichotomy, the following question was asked: Would it be worthwhile managing the fishery at a finer scale that corresponds with the harvesters' spatial preferences? To answer this, an existing abalone model was applied to a population of blacklip abalone, Haliotis rubra Leach. The model simulates both the existing practice of large scale spatial management combined with smaller scale spatial harvest and an alternative practice, whereby management and harvest are synchronised at a similarly small scale. It was concluded that the costs and effort associated with managing at a finer scale would unlikely yield benefits substantial enough to justify its implementation.