Media Release - A win for the Spotted Handfish thanks to successful planning appeal

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust [TCT] and Re Imagine The End  [RITE] Founder and Spokesperson Robyn McNicol have had a great victory in Tasmania’s planning appeal’s tribunal that saves the spotted handfish population at Halfmoon Bay from a destructive pipeline proposed for a golf course development at Arm End, Opossum Bay. The tribunal made its decision of the Friday 26th April

The TCT represented Ms McNicol in the appeal and we negotiated numerous very important changes to how the pipeline is to be installed.

Robyn McNicol, a South Arm resident, initiated the appeal on behalf of RITE to the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal after the Clarence City Council made serious flaws in pipeline approval permit in February 2019.

As approved by Council the pipeline would have seriously damaged the handfish habitat and killed handfishes directly.

Given the limitations of the Clarence city Council planning rules we never had a realistic chance of stopping the pipeline or having it relocated, but we have succeeded in negotiating changes that make the handfish population protected and much safer.

TCT and RITE negotiated these important permit condition changes that require the pipeline to be:

installed under the sea bed for a distance of more that 500m from shore instead of 200 metres as approved by council;installed at least 3.5m under the sea bed and into bed rock instead of 1.5m under the sea bed which made it likely that the drilling equipment would penetrate the sea bed and damage habitat and handfishes;all works must be done outside the breeding season of the spotted handfish which the council did not require.

Peter McGlone said “The Council made a serious error in its decision and it has taken a courageous community group and the TCT to make changes to protect one of only ten known populations of the spotted handfish in the world. Most disappointing was that the Clarence City Council’s original approval would have allowed the pipeline to penetrate the seabed in the middle of the handfish population.”

Robyn McNicol said “This win for the handfish has required a local community and conservation group’s efforts and resources to ensure the best protection for a critically endangered species, which was otherwise ignored by council. The spotted handfish is now a lot safer with numerous additional conditions being place on the development as a result of a mediated outcome.”

Further information contact :

 Robyn McNicol RITE FOUNDER & SPOKESPERSON 0400 119 519 and

Peter McGlone DIRECTOR of TASMANIAN CONSERVATION TRUST 0406 380 545

Both available at the same time for interview either in Hobart or at Halfmoon Bay, South Arm.