The long-spined sea urchin

The long-spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii) is on the verge of a population explosion that will see it cause lifeless ‘barrens’ in the biodiverse reef habitats across large areas of Tasmania’s east coast.

The Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) released a report in December 2018 that shows that the long-spined sea urchin has exploded in numbers and that an average of 15% of reef habitat has been lost in the 4-40 m depth range on the east coast from Tasman Island to Eddystone Point. The report shows that, in some parts of the north east coast, 50% of reefs have already been destroyed. In 2018 IMAS produced modelling that predicts that 32% of east coast reefs will be destroyed by 2021 and that with no action an average of 50% of east coast reefs may be lost to urchin barrens in the longer term.

Affordable housing – an environmental perspective

Tasmania’s housing crisis has been recognised for at least two years but frustratingly three big issues have not been part of the discussion. The state government has not committed to fixing the housing crisis and no one is asking them to; there is no mention of the main causes of the housing crisis and what this tells us about solutions; and no mention of the state government’s Affordable Housing Strategy 2015-25 which has remained unchanged while the housing crisis has unfolded.

TCT counters farmers and graziers' on endangered forest listing

Mercury Saturday 6 July 2019

Letters to the Editor
The Mercury

The Federal Minister for the environment Susan Ley is to be congratulated for accepting the advice of her independent Scientific Advisory Committee to list as critically endangered Tasmanian forests and woodlands dominated by Eucalyptus ovata and Eucalyptus brookeriana. Congratulations also to Humane Society International (Australia) for making the nomination way back in 2013.

While I expect the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association to complain about new listings of threatened species and communities, TFGA CEO Peter Skillern shows a complete misunderstanding of the listing process when he claims that 'these species are not endangered and indeed the distribution of both is widespread throughout Australia' (Mercury Saturday 6 July 2019) .

First, the listing relates to a specific forest and woodland community and not to every example of the trees. Second, the community is only endangered in Tasmania. Third, rather than being wide spread the Scientific Advisory Committee's advice states that there has been a 90% reduction in the area of this forest and woodland since European settlement.

As for claims of 'belated consultation with farmers', the draft listing was open for submissions from 16 November 2016 to 27 January 2017. Plus, the previous Minister Josh Frydenberg delayed his decision last year for six months 'to allow for appropriate consideration of any relevant recommendations arising from the Review of the Interaction between the EPBC Act and Agriculture and Food Production'. I would say farmers received special consideration.

And as for the claims that this listing will 'lock up further private farm land' and make 'on farm infrastructure improvements' difficult, according to the Scientific Advisory Committee's advice, the Commonwealth listed forest and woodland corresponds very closely with two forest communities that have been listed as threatened on Tasmanian legislation since 2002. Farmers have coped with these state listings for 17 years and little will change with Federal listing except we have a safety net if the state authorities make a mistake.

Peter McGlone
Director
Tasmanian Conservation Trust

I last put out my rubbish bin in October 2011

I last put out my rubbish bin in October 2011

I last put out my rubbish bin in October 2011. Yes, seven years and I have not put the rubbish out once at home.

In October 2011 a friend of mine, Robyn McNicol, did a marine plastic pollution art project with Taroona High School called ‘Plastic Swirl’ that aimed to increase awareness of plastic pollution in the ocean. It affected me so much that I wanted to see if I could stop producing plastic and other waste.