Biotoxin Fishery Events

Fisheries Situation Update - 9 December 2016

MARIA ISLAND EAST COAST ROCK LOBSTER BIOTOXIN ZONE TO OPEN FOR ROCK LOBSTER FISHING ON SUNDAY 11 DECEMBER 2016

Maria Island Zone (Wineglass Bay to Marion Bay)
Monitoring of PST levels in rock lobster samples taken from the Maria Island Zone have returned results that will enable the rock lobster fishery in this zone to open on Sunday 11 December 2016.

Pots may be set in the Maria Island Zone area from 13:00 hours (i.e. 1pm) on Saturday 10 December 2016, however pots cannot be hauled or lobster taken until Sunday 00:01 hours (i.e. Sunday morning).

All the biotoxin zone PST closures have now been lifted and the 'normal' rock lobster fishery rules apply from that date.

Rock lobster biotoxin zone status 11 Dec 2016

Region open status from 11 December 2016.  Open zones in the Eastern Region are depicted in green.


Fisheries Situation Update - 21 November 2016

FURNEAUX ROCK LOBSTER BIOTOXIN ZONE TO OPEN FOR RECREATIONAL ROCK LOBSTER FISHING ON WEDNESDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2016

Furneaux Zone (Banks Strait north of a line 40° 39’ 18” S)
Monitoring of PST levels in rock lobsters taken from Flinders Island have returned results that will enable the recreational rock lobster fishery in this zone to open from 00:01 hours Wednesday 23 November 2016.  Please note that pots and rings must not be set prior to this time.

As advised in the update on 15 November 2016, the Maria Island Zone remains closed pending further testing/results.

Rock lobster biotoxin zone status 23 Nov 2016

Region open status from 23 November 2016. Open zones are depicted in green. Closed zones are depicted in red. Western region open zone is shown in white.

Public Health Alert
There is a current Public Health Alert for East Coast recreationally harvested rock lobster in relation to consumption of the gut and organs.  Read it at:

www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/alerts/current_health_alerts/east_coast_wild_shellfish_warning


Fisheries Situation Update - 15 November 2016

CENTRAL EAST COAST ROCK LOBSTER BIOTOXIN ZONE TO OPEN FOR RECREATIONAL ROCK LOBSTER FISHING AS SCHEDULED ON SATURDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2016

Central East Coast Zone (Wineglass Bay to Piccaninny / Wardlaws Point)
Monitoring of PST levels in rock lobsters and mussel sentinel samples taken from the Central East Coast Zone have returned results that will enable the recreational rock lobster fishery in this zone to open as scheduled on Saturday 19 November.

Pots may be set in the open areas from 13:00hrs  (i.e. 1pm) on Friday 18 November 2016, however pots cannot be hauled or lobster taken until Saturday 00:01 hours (i.e. Saturday morning).

As advised yesterday (Fisheries Situation Update - 14 November 2016), the Maria Island Zone and Furneaux Zones remain closed pending further testing/results.

Eastern Region Rock Lobster Biotoxin Status Nov 15 2016

Region open/closed status from 19 November. Open zones are depicted in green.  Closed zones are depicted in red. Western region open zone is shown in white.


Fisheries Situation Update - 14 November 2016

FOUR ROCK LOBSTER BIOTOXIN ZONES TO OPEN AS SCHEDULED ON SATURDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2016

The zones that will be OPEN are (see map below):
  • Storm Bay/Bruny Zone (Whale Head to Tasman Island);
  • Lower East Coast Zone (Tasman Island to Marion Bay);
  • Upper East Coast Zone (Picaninny/Wardlaws Point to Eddystone Point); and
  • North East Zone (Eddystone Point to Banks Strait).

Results of lobster samples taken from the above four zones in late October/early November have returned PST levels that will enable the recreational rock lobster fishery in those zones to open as scheduled on Saturday 19 November.

Pots may be set in the open areas from 13:00 hours  (i.e. 1pm) on Friday 18 November 2016, however, pots cannot be hauled or lobster taken until Saturday 00:01 hours (i.e. Saturday morning).

The commercial rock lobster fishery in these four zones will remain shut until the scheduled commercial opening on Monday 28 November 2016.

The zones below will NOT open as scheduled, remaining shut due to biotoxins pending further testing/results.

Maria Island Zone (Marion Bay to Wineglass Bay)
The Maria Island Zone remains closed.  Results for rock lobster samples collected from this zone on 25 October 2016 indicate the PST levels are dropping but are still above the maximum regulatory limit of 0.8mg/kg.  This area will remain closed until further sampling in late November/early December.

Central East Coast Zone (Wineglass Bay to Picaninny/Wardlaws Point)
The Central East Coast Zone remains closed as further data is pending to make a decision.  The situation is being closely monitored with the aim of reviewing the status of this area as soon as the data becomes available.

Furneaux Zone (north of the middle of Banks Strait) and that part of the Eastern Region in Bass Strait north of 40° 39’18”S
The Furneaux Zone remains closed pending the results of PST analysis of lobster samples.  The earliest date that we anticipate being in a position to communicate the open/closed status of this zone is Wednesday 23 November 2016.

Region open/closed status from 19 November 2016. Open zones are depicted in green.  Closed zones are depicted in red.  Western region open zone is shown in white.



Transiting Closed Areas

Seasonal and Biotoxin Rock Lobster Closures

Fishers cannot possess rock lobster or rock lobster pots or rings during the seasonal closure in the Eastern Region and recreational fishers cannot travel by water with rock lobster or rock lobster gear aboard a boat and access the open waters in the Western Region.  This has been in place for several years for resource management purposes.
 
From 19 November 2016, any closure notices for the Eastern Region are for biotoxin closures.  These only apply to the take of lobster and setting of pots in the Eastern Region.  This allows fishers to possess pots and rings and lobster in their boat and transit closed biotoxin zones.
 
Fishers can possess a rock lobster pot on their boat in the Eastern Region from 6 AM on 18 November (it can be set from 1pm on that day).  This will allow recreational rock lobster fishers to travel across any closed biotoxin zones to fish in seasonally open waters.  They can then return with lobster aboard across closed biotoxin waters from 19 November.

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.


 

Fisheries Situation Updates Archive - July to November 2016

Fisheries Situation Update - 3 November 2016

EASTERN REGION OPENING STATUS ANNOUNCEMENT NOT EXPECTED BEFORE 14 NOVEMBER

Lobster samples for PST testing from every biotoxin zone apart from the Furneaux Zone* have been collected over the last 7 days. These samples have been processed and dispatched to the laboratory in Sydney for analysis. The earliest date that we anticipate being in a position to communicate the open/closed status of each zone is Monday 14 November. We recognise this is a short lead time prior to the scheduled recreational opening on Saturday 19 November. The timing is a balance between testing earlier to give fishers more notice versus the PST levels changing after sample collection before the scheduled opening. Despite the best efforts of sample collectors and scientists, adverse weather and courier issues have caused delays in sample collection and analysis. Monitoring of wild and farmed shellfish samples has continued fortnightly during the closed season to provide information on the extent, trend and intensity of the bloom. The latest results indicate that the bloom is generally decreasing in intensity in most zones, however it takes an extended period of time for toxin levels to reduce in lobsters. *Due to adverse weather, at the time of this update samples are yet to be collected from the Furneaux Zone.
Rock lobster biotoxin zone status 3 Nov 2016

Rock lobster Eastern Region rock lobster biotoxin update as at 3 November 2016


Fisheries Situation Update - 12 October 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. Lobster samples were collected from Schouten Passage (Maria Island Biotoxin zone) on 16 September and tested for paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) (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. The PST levels had increased significantly with the highest being 2.9 mg/kg (maximum permitted level for shellfish is 0.8mg/kg). It is likely to take extended period of time for the PST levels to reduce to below 0.8mg/kg in this zone. Monitoring of wild and farmed shellfish samples has continued fortnightly during the closed season to provide information on the extent and intensity of the bloom. These results indicate that the bloom has intensified in the lower east, central and upper east coast zones with extremely high PST levels in mussels of 14.0mg/kg at Bicheno, 7.0mg/kg at Binalong Bay and 5.1mg/kg at Pirates Bay. The bloom has also extended into the north east zone.
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 Zone Status October 12 

Eastern Region Rock Lobster Biotoxin Status - 12 October 2016

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 - 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.

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.

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