Biotoxin Fishery Events

​Public Health Alerts

For current public health alerts relating the eating of wild shellfish see the Department of Public Health website.  
See DHHS for information about Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning.

Fisheries PST Situation Update - 10 November 2017

Rock Lobster Fishery – Paralytic Shellfish Toxin closures

A strong bloom of the toxic algae Alexandrium tamarense has now persisted for a prolonged period along much of the east and south coasts.

This is being managed in accordance with the protocols detailed in the Rock Lobster Biotoxin Plan.  Based on the data from rock lobster and sentinel species the following decisions have been taken.

THREE ROCK LOBSTER ZONES WILL OPEN AS SCHEDULED ON 18 NOVEMBER 2017. 

The zones to OPEN are:
  • Furneaux Zone;
  • North East Zone; and
  • Upper East Zone.
FOUR ROCK LOBSTER ZONES WILL NOT OPEN ON 18 NOVEMBER 2017. 

The zones that remain CLOSED are:
  • Central East Zone;
  • Maria Island Zone;
  • Lower East Coast Zone; and
  • Storm Bay Bruny Zone (including the area west to Whale Head).

Central Zone, Maria Island Zone & Lower East Zone:  PST results were unprecedentedly high.  The highest results were 11mg/kg and 8 mg/kg, an order of magnitude higher than the maximum regulatory limit of 0.8 mg/kg.

Storm Bay Bruny Zone:  PST results for rock lobster and sentinel species are generally lower than those areas off the east coast.  The high for rock lobster was 1.1 mg/kg.

The area from a line through Lighthouse Bay at 147° 09' west to Whale Head has been included in this closure as part of maintaining the sustainability of this fishery. Significant concentration of effort and catch in very small area could create long term localised depletion of rock lobster stock in this area.

SAMPLING SCHEDULE
Storm Bay Bruny Zone:  With lower readings it is planned to sample rock lobster around 20 November 2017 for testing at the Sydney laboratory.  Results may be received around a week later.

Central Zone, Maria Island Zone & Lower East Zone:  With higher readings in these zones, it is planned to sample rock lobster around 11 December 2017.  However, even if the bloom in this area abates quickly now, depuration from rock lobster takes some time, and with very high PST levels already recorded a significant reduction in PST is needed.

Sentinel species:  Testing is ongoing weekly or every two weeks depending on the area and PST levels.

Rock Lobster Biotoxin Status November 18

Eastern Region open/closed status from 18 November 2017.  Open zones are depicted in green.  Closed zones are depicted in red.


Eastern Region Recreational Season Opening - Transiting Closed Biotoxin Zones

On Friday 17 November, the day before the Eastern Region season opens, recreational rock lobster fishers can possess pots and rings on state waters from 6am. Pots can be set from 1pm in that Region's open biotoxin zones.

You can transit though closed biotoxin zones to fish in the open waters of either the Western Region eg. past Whale Head or west of Point Sorell, or the Eastern Region north of a line 41 degrees 40 minutes (at Chain of Lagoons approximately 500m north of Saltwater Inlet - see map below).

In a closed biotoxin zone you cannot:
  • take rock lobster;
  • dive for lobster, be in the water and possess rock lobster; or
  • set pots or rings.
From Saturday 18 November when the Eastern Region is open, fishers can transit back from the Western Region to the Eastern Region with rock lobster providing they comply with Eastern Region bag limits before proceeding past Whale Head or Point Sorell.

Please think about your safety before fishing in unfamiliar waters.



Transiting Closed Areas

Seasonal and Biotoxin Rock Lobster Closures

During the closed season in a Region (eg. Eastern Region) recreational fishers cannot:
  • possess rock lobster or rock lobster pots or rings in the Eastern Region, or
  • travel by water with rock lobster or rock lobster gear aboard and access the open waters in the Western Region.

This has been in place for several years for resource management purposes.

If a Region has an open season status and a biotoxin closure notice has been declared you can possess rock lobster, pots and rings on boats and transit the closed biotoxin zones.  In the closed biotoxin zone you cannot:
  • take rock lobster;
  • dive for lobster, be in the water and possess rock lobster; or
  • set pots or rings.

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 - 6165 3233 or 1300 720 647
              Commercial - 6165 3045

Email:   fishing.enquiries@dpipwe.tas.gov.au
Public health alerts:  www.publichealthalerts.tas.gov.au

Biotoxin Decision Making Protocols

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 to determine management responses in relation to a Paralytic Shellfish Toxin (PST) event. The policy for the Recreational Rock Lobster Fishery for Biotoxin Events is also below.

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

  Recreational Rock Lobster Fishery Biotoxin Events Policy   (105Kb)

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.


 

Archive - Fisheries Situation Updates - July to October 2017


 

Biotoxin Update - 2 November 2017

Rock Lobster Fishery - lobster sampling program

Lobster samples for Paralytic Shellfish Toxin analysis have been collected from 7 sites along the East Coast this week by IMAS and other service providers. The samples are currently at the certified testing laboratory in Sydney.
 
The national laboratory is experiencing a very high demand on its PST analytical services as the current Harmful Algal Bloom impacts on Tasmanian shellfish growers and other seafood sectors in Tasmania.  Analysis of the first batch of lobster samples is expected to commence tomorrow and further sample analysis will continue next week.

The results from these samples will be used to determine the open/closed status of each zone ahead of the scheduled recreational Eastern Region opening on Saturday 18 November.  An update on the progress of the sampling program will be provided later next week. A decision on the status of each zone is not anticipated prior to Monday 13 November.


Biotoxin Update - 27 October 2017

Rock Lobster Fishery - lobster sampling program

A harmful algal bloom (Alexandrium tamarense) has persisted in areas of lower east coast since July and has extended along the coast to NE Tasmania over the last month or so. 

Recent monitoring of Paralytic Shellfish Toxin (PST) levels in shellfish (wild mussels and marine farm stock) has detected elevated levels PST in these shellfish over significant areas of the east coast.

In response to these shellfish results, a process for sampling rock lobster from the corresponding rock lobster biotoxin zones will now be expedited from 29 October 2017.  A combination of IMAS and service providers collect the relevant rock lobster samples for processing at IMAS and dispatch to the certified laboratory in Sydney for testing.  The zones to be tested are:

  • North East Zone;
  • Upper East Coast Zone;
  • Central East Zone;
  • Maria Island Zone;
  • Lower East Zone; and
  • Storm Bay.
Biotoxin Zone Status October 27 Eastern Region

Yellow zones indicate high PST levels in sentinel shellfish species.  Lobster sampling program is underway in these zones.  Results are not due before 10 November.

The results from these samples will be used to determine the open / closed status of each zone ahead of the schedule recreational eastern region opening on Saturday 18 November 2017.

An update on the progress of the sampling program will be provided later next week. A decision on the status of each zone is not anticipated prior to Friday 10 November.



Biotoxin Update - October 2017

mussel sample

Wild mussel samples

As in previous years, an algal bloom is persisting along the East and South East coasts.  Monitoring of paralytic shellfish toxin levels (PSTs) in indicator shellfish species has returned extremely high levels.

There is a current public health alert warning people not to eat recreationally harvested wild shellfish from the entire East Coast.

Sampling of Eastern Region rock lobster for PSTs will commence toward the end of October.




Fisheries PST Situation Update - 7 August 2017

Commercial Rock Lobster Fishery - Maria Island Biotoxin Zone and Storm Bay/Bruny Biotoxin Zone to open Wednesday 9 August 2017

Monitoring of PST levels in rock lobster samples taken from the Maria Island Zone and the Storm Bay Bruny Zone have returned results that will enable the commercial rock lobster fishery in these two zones to open on Wednesday 9 August 2017. Pots may be set in the Maria Island Zone and the Storm Bay Bruny zone from 13:00 hours (i.e. 1pm) on Tuesday 8 August 2017, however, pots cannot be hauled or lobster taken until Wednesday 9 August 00:01 hours (i.e. Wednesday morning). All the biotoxin zone PST closures have now been lifted and the 'normal' rock lobster fishery rules apply from that date. The zones are:
Maria Island Zone means waters off the east coast between Wineglass Bay (42° 10’ S) and the lower end of Marion Bay (42° 49’ S) including all of Great Oyster Bay; and,
Storm Bay/Bruny Zone means waters off the south coast bounded in the east by the line of longitude running through Cape Pillar (148° E) and in the west by the line of longitude running through Lighthouse Bay, Bruny Island (147° 09’ 44” E).

Eastern Region Biotoxin Zone status 9 August 2017 Eastern Region Biotoxin Zone status from 9 August 2017.  Open areas are depicted in green.


Fisheries PST Situation Update - 24 July 2017

Commercial Rock Lobster Fishery - Maria Island and Storm Bay/Bruny Biotoxin Zones to close for PST testing on Friday 28 July 2017

Mussel samples from Great Oyster Bay and Storm Bay have returned high levels of paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) (the maximum permitted level for shellfish is 0.8mg/kg). Latest results were: Great Oyster Bay mussel sample 1.3 mg/kg;  Nubeena mussel sample 3.0 mg/kg and Trumpeter Bay mussel sample 0.78 mg/kg.

Under the protocols in the Rock Lobster Biotoxin Management Plan, the Maria Island and Storm Bay/Bruny Biotoxin Zones will be closed to facilitate sampling of rock lobsters for PST testing.

These two zones will be closed to rock lobster fishing from 00:01 Friday, 28 July 2017 (see map below).

Pots must be pulled by midnight on Thursday 27 July 2017.

The zones are:
Maria Island Zone means waters off the east coast between Wineglass Bay (42° 10’ S) and the lower end of Marion Bay (42° 49’ S) including all of Great Oyster Bay; and

Storm Bay/Bruny Zone means waters off the south coast bounded in the east by the line of longitude running through Cape Pillar (148° E) and in the west by the line of longitude running through Lighthouse Bay, Bruny Island (147° 09’ 44” E).

Eastern Region Biotoxin Zone status 28 July 2017

Eastern Region biotoxin zone status from 28 July 2017.  Open zones are depicted in green.


Contact

Wild Fisheries Management
1 Franklin Wharf
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 03 6165 3000, 1300 368 550
Email: fishing.enquiries@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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