In March 1984 while working in Tasmania I interviewed the worlds first abalone farmer.

dive buddy
My dive buddy getting ready.

In Tasmania at the time, most abalone were wild abalone, and licenses to dive for abalone were expensive and highly sought after.

Abalone was also a delicacy sourced by amateur or recreational divers who during the 1980s had bag limits of 10 abalone and 5 crayfish per day.

While I didn’t appreciate the cold water diving that places like Bicheno provide, I certainly enjoyed the resultant harvest from diving in these conditions. Often weekends were spent with a barbecue set up on the shore with a large pot of water on the boil for the crayfish, and a hot plate for abalone fresh from the sea.

John McMullen from AbLab in the United States meanwhile, was convincing restaurateurs to use farm breed stock.

John McMullen spoke to me about his Californian farm and the work he was doing at the time with the Tasmania Fisheries Development Authority.


( to air: Tasmanian Country Hour, 15 March 1984 )

By Rae Allen

Rae Allen is a digital media professional.

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