Recreational Fishery Closures (from http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/SWIS-92A3LJ?open )
The area closed to commercial and recreational rock lobster fishing on Tasmania’s east coast has been increased to include waters from Eddystone Point to Waterhouse Island.
Laboratory test results received today (Fri Dec 21)confirmed that rock lobster sampled north of the closed area on December 15 had now been impacted by toxic alga.
The levels of paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) in some samples are close to four times greater than the 0.8 mg/kg maximum recommended by public health authorities and there is no alternative but to extend the area closed to rock lobster fishing.
In response to the laboratory results, the Acting Director of Public Health has issued a public health warning regarding rock lobster in the area between Eddystone Point and a line of latitude running through the middle of Banks Strait in the north and a line running north from the eastern side of Waterhouse Island in the west.
Consistent with the actions taken on the East Coast, DPIPWE is moving the boundary of the east coast closed area both north and west to reflect the area now covered by the public health warning.
Responsible actions taken by commercial rock lobster fishers and processors have enabled all rock lobster harvested from the area in question since 15 December to be accounted for to the satisfaction of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
This catch has been separated. It will only be sold if the risk of exposure to PST in rock lobster gut can be eliminated.
Recreational fishers who may have harvested fish from the area are strongly advised to heed the advice contained in the public health warning.
If you have set your gear prior to being aware of the closure, remove the gear as soon as practicable and do not to retain any catch. (Note the closure is in response to public health alerts and the closure is a legally enforced closure from the date of the public notice).
DPIPWE will continue to monitor the situation and will undertake further sampling. This will inform future decision making on the situation.
The recreational abalone fishery opened in the affected area (indicated red in the map below) from 14 December 2012.
Can fishers transit areas?
The closure applies to taking rock lobster, not possession of rock lobster. For this closure, recreational fishers can fish in the open part of the fishery and transit back through the closed area to their landing point. For example, fishers can leave St Helens and fish north of Eddystone Point and then return to St Helens.
Do I get a refund for my licence?
No refunds or partial refunds are offered. The fishery opened as usual, and it is unfortunate that part of the fishery is closed for a health alert. All other waters remain open and the closure may only be short term. You may note that revenue from the sale of sea fishing licences supports the Fishwise Fund and provides funds for programs that support recreational fishing activities. Go to the Fishwise Funds Planning and Expenditure web page for a summary of how the funds are used.
Should I purchase a licence this year?
The decision to purchase a licence is your decision. If you do not purchase a licence this year, you can still purchase a licence next year. If you state you have held a licence previously, you may keep your Unique Identifying Code for marking the buoys.
Can I delay my licence purchase?
If the only place you fish is on the East Coast in the current closed area, you may wish to delay the purchase of a licence, until the notification of re-opening occurs. Licences are available for purchase over the internet www.fishing.tas.gov.au/licence and a receipt will be issued. Similarly, you can go into Service Tasmania to purchase a licence when the affected part of the fishery reopens. A reminder that Service Tasmania shops are not open on weekends and during some holiday periods.
Which fish can I eat?
If you have a specific food safety query e.g. I have rock lobster in my freezer which were taken from the closed area before the closure - are they safe to eat? - please phone the Public Health Hotline (details are below) as Wild Fisheries Management Branch, DPIPWE cannot provide detailed advice on health queries.
For up to date information about public health alerts relating to eating wild shellfish, refer to the Director of Public Health's current Public Health warnings or phone the Department of Health and Human Services hotline on 1800 671 738.
Rock Lobster Fishery: The area depicted above has been closed since 15 November, 2012. Links to relevant advice and documentation from the Department can be found below:
- Letter to commercial rock lobster fishers dated 13 December 2012.
- DPIPWE advice to rock lobster industry dated 22 November 2012 regarding further sampling on the east coast
- DPIPWE advice regarding the transiting and holding of rock lobster dated 13 November, 2012.
- Letter to commercial rock lobster fishers dated 12 November regarding the delay to the opening of the commercial season;
Abalone Fishery: The commercial abalone fishery has been effectively closed by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s biosecurity section since 20 November 2012 inclusive from Eddystone Point to Deep Glen Bay.
Commercial Dive Fishery: Opened from 14 December.
Recreational fishery enquiries: Ph (03) 6233 7042 or 1300 720 647 or subscribe to our email news service.
Commercial fishery enquiries: Ph (03) 6233 6797