Fisheries Research and Development Corporation Australia - Sand Patch Lee

Restoration Project

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation Australia - Sand Patch Lee

Restoration Objective:

1) Protect abalone production from key reef locations. 2) Prevent further loss of abalone habitat at key reef locations. 3) Recover recently formed barrens back to healthy habitat.

Site Selection Criteria:

The selected site was used because it had historically supported a highly productive abalone fishery, and had experienced a significant recent incursion of C. rodgersii, resulting in the loss of abalone habitat. 

Cause Of Decline:

In high numbers, sea urchins can overgraze seaweed communities. On reefs with high densities of sea urchins, the structure of the algal community is damaged, and the abundance and diversity of invertebrates is reduced.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Scientific Paper

East Victoria Marine Reef Restoration Project


Site Observations:

Observation Date

12th Mar 2012 – 11th Nov 2015

Action Summary:

Commercial urchin harvesting – where ever possible urchin harvesting to be used as the preferred control method. Urchin culling – where urchins are not viable for commercial harvest as identified by the Victorian Urchin Divers Association Inc. Combined harvesting & culling – may be used to improve habitat at certain locations. Abalone Translocation – to restore abalone populations on recovered reef.

Lessons Learned:

  • No culling to take place during spawning June – September.
  • Select Reef Codes / areas that are the most productive for abalone.
  • Focus culling effort on Healthy / Patch barren areas first before attempting to extend out onto the barrens.
  • Be cautious of culling too far out onto full barrens, because of low return for effort.
  • First priority is stopping the formation of new barrens. Protecting reefs from further loss of healthy habitat.
  • Avoid culling bays & sheltered areas because the wrong type of weed may grow back (turfing algae) and be unsuitable for abalone.

Project Outcomes:

Helped enhance abalone populations.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Area of Restoration (Ha)


Indicator Data:


Ending Value:

Starting Value:

Presence / Absence of Kelp

Cost Year:2020
Cost Currency:AUD
Total Cost:101,800