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Rock lobster fishery – Paralytic shellfish toxin closures

by DPIPWE Fishing on 11 Nov 2017
Rock lobster fishery – Paralytic shellfish toxin closures DPIPWE
Three rock lobster zones will open as scheduled on 18 November 2017.

The zones to OPEN are:
• Furneaux Zone;
• North East Zone;
• Upper East Zone.

Four rock lobster zones will NOT open on 18 November 2017.

The zones that remain CLOSED are:
• Central East Zone;
• Maria Island Zone;
• Lower East Coast Zone and
• Storm Bay Bruny Zone (including the area west to Whale Head).

Central Zone, Maria Island Zone and Lower East Zone: PST results were unprecedentedly high. The highest results were 11mg/kg and 8 mg/kg, an order of magnitude higher than the maximum regulatory limit of 0.8 mg/kg.

Storm Bay Bruny Zone: PST results for rock lobster and sentinel species are generally lower than those areas off the east coast. The high for rock lobster was 1.1 mg/kg.

The area from a line through Lighthouse Bay at 147° 09' west to Whale Head has been included in this closure as part of maintaining the sustainability of this fishery. Significant concentration of effort and catch in very small area could create long term localised depletion of rock lobster stock in this area.

Sampling Schedule
Storm Bay Bruny Zone: With lower readings it is planned to sample rock lobster around 20 November 2017 for testing at the Sydney laboratory. Results may be received around a week later.

Central Zone, Maria Island Zone & Lower East Zone: With higher readings in these zones, it is planned to sample rock lobster around 11 December 2017. However, even if the bloom in this area abates quickly now, depuration from rock lobster takes some time, and with very high PST levels already recorded a significant reduction in PST is needed.

Sentinel species: Testing is ongoing weekly or every two weeks depending on the area and PST levels.

Transiting Closed Areas

Seasonal and Biotoxin Rock Lobster Closures

During the closed season in a Region (eg. Eastern Region) recreational fishers cannot:
- possess rock lobster or rock lobster pots or rings in the Eastern Region, or
- travel by water with rock lobster or rock lobster gear aboard and access the open waters in the Western Region.

This has been in place for several years for resource management purposes.

If a Region has an open season status and a biotoxin closure notice has been declared you can possess rock lobster, pots and rings on boats and transit the closed biotoxin zones. In the closed biotoxin zone you cannot:

- take rock lobster;
- dive for lobster, be in the water and possess rock lobster; or
- set pots or rings.

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