Biotoxin Fishery Events

Fisheries Situation Update - 19 September 2016

The East Coast is currently closed to commercial and recreational rock lobster fishing as part of a scheduled seasonal closure.

The harmful algal bloom continues to persist along the majority of the East Coast.

Prior to the scheduled commercial seasonal closure (1 September), the Storm Bay/Bruny Island and Lower East Coast zones were closed to facilitate rock lobster sampling in response to high PST levels in wild shellfish.
  • Lobster samples collected from Wedge Island (Storm Bay / Bruny Island zone ) on 23 August had taken up PSTs with a high of 0.54 mg/kg.
  • Lobster samples collected from Pirates Bay (Lower East Coast zone) on 5 September had negligible levels of PST.
Wild mussel samples collected from Binalong Bay (Upper East Coast Zone) and Bicheno (Central East Coast zone) on 29 August had very high PST levels 4.1 mg/kg and 2.2 mg/kg respective (0.8mg/kg maximum permitted level in shellfish). Further samples from these locations were collected on 12 September and returned results of 2.9 mg/kg (Binalong Bay) and 1.6 mg/kg (Bicheno).

Monitoring of wild and farmed shellfish samples will continue fortnightly during the closed season to provide information on the extent and intensity of the bloom.

Lobster samples from the Maria Island Biotoxin zone will be tested for PSTs next week (6 weeks since the previous lobster samples from this zone) to provide further information on whether PST levels are increasing or decreasing in this area.

Further lobster sampling from most zones is scheduled for late October. The results from this sampling round will inform management decisions on the open/closed status of each zone prior to the scheduled opening of the Eastern Region in November.
Biotoxin Status September 19 

Eastern Region Rock Lobster Biotoxin Status - 19 September

Green = no evidence of a harmful algal bloom
Yellow = high levels of PSTs in shellfish (greater than 0.8mg/kg)
Red = zones closed to commercial rock lobster fishing prior to 1 September seasonal closure due to high PST levels in shellfish and lobster samples

Fisheries Situation Update - 23 August 2016

Commercial Rock Lobster Fishery – Lower East Coast Biotoxin Zone

Wild mussel samples from Pirates Bay have returned high levels of paralytic shellfish toxins  - 1.6mg/kg. (The maximum permitted level for shellfish is 0.8mg/kg).

Under the protocols in the Rock Lobster Biotoxin Management Plan, this zone will be closed to facilitate sampling of rock lobsters for PST testing.

An area between Marion Bay (42° 49’S) and Tasman Island (148° 00’ E) will be closed to commercial rock lobster fishing from 00:01 Monday, 29 August (see indicative map below).

Pots must be pulled by midnight on Sunday 28 August.

In light of the wild mussel data from Pirates Bay and other shellfish data from south eastern Tasmania, leaving the area open until 1 September has been assessed as an unacceptable risk due to the potential for lobsters taking up the toxins to a greater than 0.8mg/kg level, which could jeopardise access to key exports markets.  Lobster samples will be collected from Pirates Bay early next week (subject to weather). This data will provide valuable data on the rate of uptake of PST’s by lobsters during a bloom event.

The Maria Island and Storm Bay / Bruny Island Biotoxin Zones are currently closed to commercial rock lobster fishing.

All other biotoxin zones are open to commercial rock lobster fishing.
Biotoxin Map 

Rock Lobster Biotoxin Zone Status as at 23 August 2016 - Commercial Fishery

Fisheries Situation Update - 16 August 2016

Commercial Rock Lobster Fishery - Storm Bay/Bruny Island Biotoxin Zone

Wild mussel samples from Nubeena have returned high levels of paralytic shellfish toxins  - 2.2mg/kg. (The maximum permitted level for shellfish is 0.8mg/kg).

Under the protocols in the Rock Lobster Biotoxin Management Plan, this zone will be closed to facilitate sampling of rock lobsters for PST testing.

An area between Tasman Island (148° 00’ E) and Cape Bruny (147° 09’ 44” E) will be closed to commercial rock lobster fishing from 00:01 Monday, 22 August (see indicative map below).

Pots must be pulled by midnight on Sunday 21 August.

The exact timing of the PST test results is uncertain, but is likely to be very close to the scheduled seasonal closure on 00:01 Thursday, 1 September.

In light of the wild mussel data from Nubeena and shellfish farms in the South East, leaving the area open until 1 September has been assessed as an unacceptable risk due to the potential for lobsters taking up the toxins to a greater than 0.8mg/kg level, which could jeopardise access to key exports markets.

The Maria Island Biotoxin Zone is currently closed to commercial rock lobster fishing.

All other biotoxin zones are open to commercial rock lobster fishing.

Rock lobster biotoxin closure status map

Rock Lobster Biotoxin Zone Status as at 16 August 2016 - Commercial Fishery

Fisheries Situation Update - 12 August 2016

Commercial Rock Lobster Fishery - Maria Island Biotoxin Zone

The rock lobster samples collected on 8 August 2016 from Schouten Passage, Great Oyster Bay, for PST testing have returned results with a high of 1.9 mg/kg (the maximum permitted level for shellfish is 0.8mg/kg).

Under the Rock Lobster Biotoxin Management Plan decision protocols, this zone will remain closed.

Experience from previous harmful algal blooms indicates that there can be a lengthy time lag before the PST levels in lobsters will start to decline.

A decision about when to sample lobsters again will be made next week.

August 2016 Update - Public Health Warning

The Department of Health and Human Services has warned that recreationally collected shellfish from the east and south coasts of Tasmania may cause illness and should not be eaten.

Toxins have been detected in shellfish including oysters, mussels and scallops.

Read the current warning and the media release from the Acting Director of Public Health.

For public health information on eating recreationally harvested wild shellfish see: www.publichealthalerts.tas.gov.au

For information on fishery closures
, contact the Wild Fisheries Management Branch on 1300 720 647.

Fisheries Situation Update - 27 July 2016

Commercial Rock Lobster Fishery - Maria Island Biotoxin Zone

Results from lobster samples collected from Schouten Passage, Great Oyster Bay on 20 July show increased levels of paralytic shellfish toxin in the lobsters. The highest sample was 0.82 mg/kg, just above the maximum permitted level for shellfish (0.8 mg/kg).  Under the decision protocols in the Rock Lobster Biotoxin Management Plan, this zone will remain shut.

Further sampling will be scheduled in about two weeks.

All other biotoxin zones are open.

Fisheries Situation Update - 22 July 2016

Commercial Rock Lobster Fishery

An IMAS dive team collected rock lobster samples for further PST testing from Great Oyster Bay on Wednesday, 20 July. The samples have been processed and dispatched to the laboratory in Sydney.

The Maria Island Biotoxin zone will remain shut pending the results from these samples. Results are not expected until Friday, 29 July at the earliest.

All other biotoxin zones are open.

Fisheries Situation Update - 14 July 2016

Commercial Rock Lobster Fishery

An IMAS dive team will be collecting rock lobster samples for further PST testing from Great Oyster Bay on Monday, 18 July, subject to the weather. PST levels in mussels from Great Oyster Bay are still above the maximum permitted level for shellfish, but have trended downwards over the last couple of weeks.

The Maria Island Biotoxin zone will remain shut pending the results from these samples. The results should be available about a week from date of sampling.

All other biotoxin zones are open.

Fisheries Situation Update - 5 July 2016

Commercial Rock Lobster Fishery

Maria Island Biotoxin Zone to remain closed

The rock lobster samples collected on Mon 27 June 2016 from Schouten Island, Great Oyster Bay, for PST testing have returned results with a high of 0.53 mg/kg. ( the maximum permitted level for shellfish is 0.8mg/kg).

Under the Rock Lobster Biotoxin management plan decision protocols, this zone will remain closed to allow the collection of more lobster samples to check if the PST levels are going up or down.  The zone is expected to be shut for at least 3 weeks. A decision on when to collect more samples will be made later this week, when more PST data from mussels / oysters is available.

All other biotoxin zones are open.

The Eastern Region recreational rock lobster fishery including this Zone, is already closed as part of the East Coast stock rebuilding strategy.


Eastern Region Biotoxin zone status at 25 June 2016.  The closed zone is depicted in red.


Background information

DPIPWE Wild Fisheries has developed the Rock Lobster Biotoxin Plan and Decision Protocol in consultation with the Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fisherman's Association, the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders. It is used for determining management outcomes and responses in relation to a Paralytic Shellfish Toxin (PST) event in the rock lobster fishery.

  Rock Lobster Biotoxin Plan and Decision Making Protocol July 2015   (997Kb)

Recreational licence refunds

Please note that recreational licence refunds will not be granted if you are unable to fish in some waters due to biotoxin closures.  Licences grant access to all Tasmanian waters and biotoxin closures apply only to specific zones within those waters.  Licence holders can still fish outside any closed areas.

 

How to stay informed

Web:  This webpage - Biotoxin Fishery Events
Email alerts: Recreational Fishing News e-newsletter
Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/FisheriesTasmania

 

Phone: Recreational enquiries Ph (03) 6165 3233 or 1300 720 647
             Commercial enquiries: Ph (03) 6165 3045
Email:   fishing.enquiries@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Public health alerts: www.publichealthalerts.tas.gov.au

Commercial Fishery season dates: www.fishing.tas.gov.au/com/seasons
Recreational Fishery season dates: www.fishing.tas.gov.au/rec/seasons

Back Home