Please select your home edition
Edition
Safety at Sea - Baltic - 3

Update on the East Coast Toxic Algae Event Tasmania

by Carl Hyland on 23 Dec 2012
CRAY (2) Carl Hyland
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.

Recreational Fishing - Frequently Asked Questions:

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.


From the Helth Department Tasmania:
The closure of the recreational and commercial rock lobster fishery from Marion Bay to Eddystone Point has been extended in the north to the eastern side of Waterhouse Island and up to the middle of Banks Strait. This means the fishery is closed on the east coast from the line at Waterhouse to Marian Bay.

Results received on 21 December 2012 show lobster significantly above the maximum level for Paralytic Shellfish Toxin (PST).

Given the results to date, it appears that rock lobster take much longer to clear the PST from their systems than other shellfish.

The existing closed area is now supplemented as shown in the maps above Testing and Sampling. Another round of sampling across the entire east coast is scheduled for early January.

Background to the Closure - An unprecedented toxic algal event has affected the bivalve shellfish marine farming industry on the east coast of Tasmania. Abalone farms have also been affected. In addition, a number of fisheries have been impacted including the commercial scallop, wild shellfish, abalone, rock lobster and commercial dive fisheries.

The toxic algal species, Alexandrium tamarense, has rarely been recorded in Tasmanian waters and has never been previously linked to seafood species expressing paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) in this State.

Bailey InsuranceAbsolute MarineHenri Lloyd 50 Years

Related Articles

New VicEmergency app launched
The new VicEmergency app provides Victorians with access to warnings and incidents for fires, floods and water safety. The new VicEmergency app provides Victorians with access to warnings and incidents for fires, floods, storms, earthquake, tsunamis and water safety.
Posted on 2 Dec
OceanLED adds a new underwater light to the sport series
OceanLED, the global leader in marine LED lighting, introduced new Sport S3124s as the latest addition to Sport series. OceanLED, the global leader in marine LED lighting, today introduced its new Sport S3124s as the latest addition to the Sport series. Engineered specifically for sport fishing and active cruising, the advanced underwater LED Sport S3124s light packs a powerful 3,000 fixture lumens punch in a stylish dual Ultra White and Midnight Blue light option.
Posted on 1 Dec
Boat owners - a good insurance policy and broker can be your savior
Neil Bailey gives some sound advice from both a broker's and boatie's perspective. Too frequently boat-owners only find out how good their insurance policy is, and their insurer, after they make a claim. Neil Bailey is the principal of an Insurance Brokerage that bears his name. He is also a boat owner and life-long sailor and boat-owner. Here he gives some sound advice from both a broker's and boatie's perspective.
Posted on 30 Nov
Seven dead, one missing, three rescued in Kaipara fishing accident
Searchers have recovered seven bodies from the Kaipara Harbour, after a fishing boat got into trouble today. Searchers have recovered seven bodies from the Kaipara Harbour, northwest of Auckland, after a fishing boat got into trouble on Saturday. As of Sunday two of the three people listed as missing on Saturday have been found dead, and their bodies recovered. Three were rescued and were in hospital, police said.
Posted on 26 Nov
Ensign want to sell your boat!
Ensign have had such a successful sales year that they are now looking for more pre-used stock to sell. Ensign, one of Australia’s largest yacht brokers, have had such a successful sales year that they are now looking for more pre-used stock to sell. At their head office location at Main Beach, Queensland, they can offer amazing rates on berthing while the boat is on sale at their Marinas Cove Marina and that means great exposure.
Posted on 24 Nov
Verado re-power 'astonishing'
Josh Ker wasn’t prepared for what happened when he recently re-powered Bertram 25 flybridge with a 350hp Mercury Verado Josh Ker, the man who heads up Bigfish Gear in Darwin, has been involved in offshore fishing for the past 25 years but he still wasn’t prepared for what happened when he recently re-powered his Bertram 25 flybridge with a 350hp Mercury Verado.
Posted on 24 Nov
Murray Cod seized out of season
A quick call from a concerned member of the public to the 13FISH line yesterday has seen four people from Cobram caught A quick call from a concerned member of the public to the 13FISH line yesterday has seen four people from Cobram caught with undersize Murray Cod during the closed season.
Posted on 23 Nov
New listing – 2005 Black Watch 40
Many upgrades including new generator, winch, Furuno TZ touchscreen, antifoul/prop-speed etc. This vessel represents excellent value. Many upgrades including new generator, winch, Furuno TZ touchscreen, antifoul/prop-speed etc.
Posted on 22 Nov
If you fish recreationally, don’t sell your catch
Two fishers from Burnside have been arrested for selling fish they caught using a recreational licence. Two fishers from Burnside have been arrested for selling fish they caught using a recreational licence. Fisheries officers believe the Golden Perch were caught at Lake Eildon.
Posted on 21 Nov
Low tide sees Flinders abalone offences
Three Melbourne men allegedly took advantage of super-low tides to steal abalone in the Flinders area last week. Three Melbourne men allegedly took advantage of super-low tides to steal abalone in the Flinders area last week. On Thursday, two men were apprehended and will be charged with taking 161 abalone from The Blowhole area. Nearly all of the abalone seized were undersized.
Posted on 21 Nov