The rock lobster fishery is one of the most lucrative and well-resourced and managed fisheries in Tasmania, and yet it is on the verge of calamity, and no one seems particularly keen to do anything about it.This is not the first time that the rock lobster fishery has been in crisis. In the 1990s a new quota system was introduced in an attempt to make the commercial fishery more sustainable and more economically viable. Until a few years ago this appeared to be working and the biomass was slowly increasing, despite the catch being set at an optimistically high level.
I became a councillor and treasurer of the TCT in 1996. At that time, I was treasurer of the Tasmanian Environment Centre, now known as Sustainable Living Tasmania, and also treasurer of the local landcare group. Neither took a great deal of time and effort on my part, so when I was approached by Michael Lynch (former Director of the TCT) to replace Helen Hortle as treasurer, I was pleased to accept.
It is heartening to be able to report that progress has been made in recent months towards protection of swift parrot breeding habitat from logging. Not surprisingly, there has been resistance to these changes and we must continue to fight to stop the logging industry and Forestry Tasmania (FT) from clawing back the gains.
The Tasmanian Conservation Trust is represented on the Tasmanian Devil Program Stakeholder Reference Group. This is our prime means of obtaining information about the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) and providing advice or asking questions. Unfortunately, the Stakeholder Reference Group has not met since November 2008 and our attempts to instigate a meeting of this group have been unsuccessful.
There have been recent suggestions that energy efficiency ratings for new housing be increased from 5-star to 6-star.This is fine, but in determining ratings little or no consideration is given to orientation or layout of the building, apart from areas of glazing in the various compass sectors, or the application of passive solar principles. Most of the emphasis seems to be on preventing artificially created heat from escaping from the building.
Largely due to the efforts of the Derwent Estuary Program Little Penguin Program hosted by the Tasmanian Conservation Trust over the past five years, the numbers of little penguins in the Derwent estuary have steadily increased. Monitoring has revealed that breeding pairs now number around 180, while five years ago there were 98 pairs.
On 26 June 2009 Tasmanian Lowland Native Grasslands were listed by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, on the schedules of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) as a critically endangered ecological community. This was a truly historic decision by Minister Garrett and we cannot overstate its importance for biodiversity conservation in Tasmania.
The issue of public access at preminghana always generates a high level of public debate. So, is it purely an argument of the right to drive vehicles onto a beach? No. The debate is about the right of a landowner to determine what is important and needs protection on the land and who may enter their land. The Tasmanian Aboriginal community is a landowner and must have the right to make decisions about what happens on the land it owns the same as any other land owner, Aboriginal or not.
The Tasmanian Conservation Trust was involved with preparation of the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area Management Plan in 2002 and has participated since in attempts to improve management of the area. Frustration over a lack of progress in management of the area, even though most stakeholders have identified much common ground, culminated recently in the preparation and public release of a report by the North-West Environment Centre. The report points the finger firmly at the Parks and Wildlife Service as being responsible for holding up this process and makes some telling recommendations on how the Service needs to change the way it works with community groups.
As a new face to Tasmania I am excited about heading up the TCT Wildlife Campaign and working towards improved native wildlife management and standards across the state. Although I am new to Tasmania, I am not new to wildlife policy and management, having worked for a number of government and private organisations including zoos, conservation groups and government wildlife agencies.
Weed stakeholders will be familiar with me as previous project manager for the Southern Tasmanian Weed Strategy and author of the gorse and athel pine national best practice management manuals. I have now settled in to life at the TCT and have begun planning and delivering the new Weed Alert Network project.
The TCT’s 40th anniversary retrospective exhibition went on display at the Launceston Environment Centre last month. The exhibition was launched in Hobart last September (see The Tasmanian Conservationist, September 2008) and is a pictorial history featuring some of the major campaigns undertaken by the TCT since its inception in 1967. The driving force behind the Launceston display and Master of Ceremonies on the night was TCT Councillor Neville Gray, who said it was essential to involve TCT members throughout the state. ‘It is important that members are able to see and appreciate the diversity of the work undertaken by the Trust if we are to retain and grow our membership’, he added.