Two small research areas that were closed to rock lobster fishing, so that researchers could investigate the Centrostephanus urchin barrens that threaten much of Tasmania's rocky reef systems, are at risk of being opened to fishing even while they remain vital to the fight against the destruction of reef habitat and important fisheries. Centrostephanus barrens currently represent the greatest threat to Tasmanian reefs and recreational abalone and rock lobster fishing.
The recent finding of a giant jellyfish on a beach south of Hobart (Howden, February 2014) highlights the exciting fact that there are still things in nature, and the ocean in particular, that we know little about. The jellyfish was measured 1.5m in diameter and it has been confirmed as the most rarely seen of the three species of lion’s mane jellyfish found in Tasmania. The lion's mane can grow to be one of the largest of all jellyfish. Although not deadly, the species will deliver a nasty sting and a cold pack should be used to reduce the pain.
Indian mynas are a serious pest in Tasmania does not currently Australia and are considered one of. of the world's 100 worst in invasive species. Indian mynas are highly invasive birds that can rapidly colonise new areas. First (incursions to prevent 1860s, mynas are now found along the east coast of Australia from Victoria to Queensland.
Back in May 2007, an article entitled ‘World Heritage Embarrassment’ was published in the Tasmanian Conservationist (#311), highlighting the stand-off by the Tasmanian Government on funding for a program to remove rabbits, rats and mice from Macquarie Island and its credibility on nature conservation in one of the most important reserves in Australia.
The Cat Management Act 2009 and Cat Management Regulations 2012 commenced in July 2012 as Tasmania’s first ever legislation for the control and management of cats. About a year after the legislation commenced the Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage Brian Wightman announced that his department would be assessing the effectiveness of the legislation through a formal review.
The TCT stated today that the decision by the Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke that the proposed doubling of the area of fish farms in Macquarie Harbour did not significantly impact the endangered Maugean Skate and the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, and therefore did not require assessment, is incorrect and constitutes an abandonment of his responsibilities.
While the TCT is pleased with the expansion of the previously tiny marine reserves at Ninepin Point and Tinderbox in 2009, it is disappointing that, under the Labor–Green government, no new reserves have been created or proposed.
On 17 May 2012 the state budget was delivered by the Premier and Treasurer, Lara Giddings, and there was a small but important surprise for those of us who had been waiting nearly three years for the Cat Management Act to be enacted (it was passed by the state parliament in November 2009 but has not yet commenced). In March this year, the Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Brian Wightman, had finally confirmed that the act would commence on 1 July 2012 so some budget allocation was expected.
In November 2011 the Legislative Council threatened not to pass the new Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical (Control of Use) Regulations plus the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical (Control of Use) Amendment Bill (the Bill is required so that many functions previously contained in the codes of practice can be incorporated into the greatly enhanced and expanded regulations).
The Tasmanian Weed Alert Network is a group of volunteers looking out for serious new weeds in Tasmania. Volunteers come the across livestock, cropping, forest and mining industries, the community and government. We have around 80 volunteers spread across the state, including on the Bass Strait islands.
Over the last three editions of the Tasmanian Conservationist our marine campaigner Jon Bryan has outlined the crisis that exists in the rock lobster fishery and the resulting environmental crisis this has caused, in particular on the east coast of Tasmania. Reduction in numbers of large rock lobster due mainly to over fishing has removed one of the key natural controls on the Centrostephanus sea urchin. With nothing left to control them, these sea urchins have proliferated along most of the east coast removing vital algae species and reducing once bio-diverse rocky reef habitats to barren wastelands.
In the 1840s when the Goose Island lighthouse was being constructed, the consignment of stores included wood and coal for fires. As the island did not then apparently support trees. Goose Island is a windy exposed island and it is understood that the building of numerous stone walls and the planting of boxthorn by the lightkeepers, to create windbreaks for livestock, gardens and people, occurred early in the history of settlement.