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 - 16 February 2018

Rock Lobster and Giant Crab Fishery – PST closures

MARIA ISLAND ZONE TO OPEN

Results from rock lobster sampled from the Maria Island Zone indicate PST levels are below the regulatory limit.

The Maria Island Zone will open for Recreational and Commercial rock lobster fishing:

  • for setting rock lobster pots at 13:00 on Saturday 17 February 2018; and,
  • for taking rock lobster, pulling rock lobster, rock lobster rings and diving for rock lobster, at 00:01 a.m. on Sunday 18 February 2018.
The Maria Island Zone will open for Giant Crab fishing :                                
  • for setting of giant crab traps and taking of giant crab from 00:01 a.m. on Saturday 17 February 2018

All biotoxin zones are now open.

 

 

Fisheries PST Situation Update - 15 February 2018

Rock Lobster Fishery – PST closures

MARIA ISLAND ZONE REMAINS CLOSED

The Maria Island Rock Lobster Biotoxin Zone remains closed.  Rock lobster samples have been collected by IMAS and analysis is underway at the certified laboratory in Sydney.  Results are expected by Monday 19 February 2018.  All other rock lobster biotoxin zones are open.

 


 

Fisheries PST Situation Update - 2 February 2018

Rock Lobster Fishery – PST closures

MARIA ISLAND ZONE REMAINS CLOSED

Results from rock lobster sampled from the Maria Island Zone by IMAS on 25 January 2018 indicate PST levels above the regulatory limit. This biotoxin zone remains closed.

Further sampling will be undertaken within 10 days with results anticipated in mid-February.



Fisheries PST Situation Update - 30 January 2018

Rock Lobster Fishery - PST closures

The Maria Island Rock Lobster Biotoxin Zone remains closed.  Rock lobster samples have been collected by IMAS and analysis is underway at the certified laboratory in Sydney.  Results are expected by Monday 5 February 2018.  All other rock lobster biotoxin zones are open.

 

Fisheries PST Situation Update - 22 January 2018

Central East Zone to open; Maria Island Zone remains closed.

Results from rock lobster sampled from the Central East Zone indicate PST levels below the regulatory limit. PST levels in rock lobster sampled from the Maria Island Zone were not under the regulatory limit. PST levels have substantially decreased in recent weeks and lobsters will be resampled from this Zone next week.

The CENTRAL EAST ZONE will open:

  • for setting rock lobster pots, at 17:00 on Monday 22 January 2018; and,
  • for taking rock lobster, pulling pots, rock lobster rings and diving for rock lobster, at 00:01 a.m. on Tuesday, 23 January 2018.

THE MARIA ISLAND ROCK LOBSTER ZONE REMAINS CLOSED.

Biotoxin Map 23 January

Eastern Region rock lobster and giant crab open/closed status as at 23 January 2018.  Open zones are depicted in green.  Closed zones are depicted in red.

Maria Island Biotoxin Zone Boundaries



Fisheries PST Situation Update - 19 January 2018

Rock Lobster Fishery - PST closures

The Central East and Maria Island rock lobster biotoxin zones remain closed.  Analysis of the Rock lobster samples are underway at the certified laboratory in Sydney.  Unfortunately, we have just been advised the results will not be available  until  Monday 22 January 2018 or Tuesday 23 January 2018.


Fisheries PST Situation Update - 16 January 2018

Rock Lobster Fishery - PST closures

Sampling Schedule - Updated 16 January

Central East and Maria Island Zones:  Rock Lobster samples from these zones have been collected for paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) by an IMAS dive team and are now at the certified laboratory awaiting testing.  It is anticipated the results may be received either on Friday, 19 January or Monday, 22 January 2018.

The Central East and Maria Island zones remain closed until the results determine the biotoxin status.


Transiting Closed Areas

Transiting Biotoxin Regions - Eastern Region

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.
Provided the Eastern Region season 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.


Season 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.


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 PST Updates - July to December 2017


 

Rock Lobster and Giant Crab Fishery PST Update - 15 December 2017

Lower East Coast Zone will open Saturday 16 December 2017

Results from rock lobster sampled from the Lower East Coast Zone indicate paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) levels are below the regulatory limit.

The Lower East Coast Zone will open for Recreational and Commercial fishers:
  • for setting rock lobster pots from 17:00 on Friday, 15 December 2017; and
  • for rock lobster fishing and taking of rock lobster  from 00:01 a.m. on Saturday 16 December 2017.

The Lower East Coast Zone will open for Giant Crab fishing :

  • for setting of giant crab traps and taking of giant crab from 00:01 Saturday 16 December 2017

THE CENTRAL EAST ZONE AND THE MARIA ISLAND ZONES REMAIN CLOSED.

Biotoxin Map 15 December

Eastern Region rock lobster and giant crab open/closed status as at 15 December 2017.  Open zones are depicted in green.  Closed zones are depicted in red.



 

Rock Lobster Fishery PST Update - 14 December 2017

Central East and Maria Island Zones to remain closed

Paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) levels in lobster samples collected last week from the Central East and Maria Island rock lobster biotoxin management zones are still very high and well in excess of the regulatory limit of 0.8mg/kg. The highest results were 7.1 and 5.5 mg/kg. Whilst this is a decrease from the peak levels recorded 5 weeks ago (30 October), a much greater reduction will be needed before the zones can be re-opened for fishing.
   
The algal bloom is continuing to persist around the lower east coast, which is likely to slow the rate at which lobsters can flush out the toxin. Data from previous blooms, as well as the current event and research tank trials, suggests that even when the bloom has disappeared, it is unlikely that lobsters in these zones will return to acceptable levels within a month, given the latest PST results.

Accordingly, it is planned to re-sample lobsters from these zones around 15 January (5 weeks from the previous sample collection).

 

Lower East Coast Zone is closed pending results

Lobster samples from the Lower East Coast Zone are at the laboratory in Sydney for analysis. The results are anticipated Monday 18th December 2018.

 
Rock Lobster Biotoxin Status December 14

Eastern Region rock lobster open/closed status as at 14 December 2017.  Open zones are depicted in green.  Closed zones are depicted in red.


 

Rock Lobster Fishery PST Update - 7 December 2017

Closures remain for Central, Maria Island and Lower East Coast Zones

Due to very challenging weather and sea conditions earlier this week, the sampling plan is running several days behind schedule.  It is now underway in the closed zones with assistance from IMAS, a commercial fisher and a private contractor. The delivery of samples to the Sydney laboratory will be expedited as quickly as possible.

It is anticipated the results may be received by Friday 15 December or Monday 18 December. The bloom appears to be dissipating on the mid east coast but is still lingering around the lower east coast.

A significant reduction in PSTs is needed before any zone can be re-opened. Flushing of the toxin from rock lobster takes some time, even when the algal bloom has ended.  Samples tested in early November recorded extremely high PST levels.



Rock Lobster Fishery PST Update - 24 November 2017

Storm Bay/Bruny Zone to open

Results from rock lobster sampled from the Storm Bay/Bruny zone indicate paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) levels below the regulatory limit.

The STORM BAY/BRUNY ZONE will OPEN:

For recreational fishers:
  • for setting rock lobster pots, at 13:00 on Saturday, 25 November 2017; and
  • for taking rock lobster, pulling pots, rock lobster rings and diving for rock lobster, at 00:01 a.m. on Sunday, 26 November 2017;
For commercial fishers (scheduled season opening date):
  • for setting rock lobster pots, at 13:00 on Sunday, 26 November 2017; and,
  • for taking rock lobster and pulling pots, at 00:01 a.m. on Monday, 27 November 2017.

THREE ROCK LOBSTER ZONES REMAIN SHUT.  The zones that remain CLOSED are:
  • Central East Zone;
  • Maria Island Zone; and,
  • Lower East Coast Zone.
Rock Lobster Biotoxin Status November 26

Eastern Region open/closed status for recreational fishers from 26 November 2017.  Open zones are depicted in green.  Closed zones are depicted in red


Rock Lobster Fishery PST Update - 22 November 2017

Sampling Schedule - Updated 22 November

Storm Bay Bruny Zone:  Rock Lobster samples were collected for paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) sampling by an IMAS dive team on 20 November 2017 and are now at the certified laboratory awaiting testing.  It is anticipated the results may be received either on Friday 24 November or Monday 27 November .

Central Zone, Maria Island Zone & Lower East Zone:  With higher readings in these zones, it is planned to sample rock lobster around 4 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.

 

Other Species PST Sampling and Management - 22 November 2017

Due to the extremely high PST levels in wild oysters, mussels and rock lobster in the mid-East Coast; giant crab, sea urchins and abalone have also now been tested. Results from sea urchin roe did not indicate any level of PST. For abalone however, elevated levels were detected in the viscera and also to a degree in the flesh.  These abalone were sampled in commercial abalone block 24C which is around the northern end of Maria Island in an area that has seen high levels of PST in mussels for a prolonged period. The commercial abalone fishery has been closed in a number of fishing blocks in response to high levels being detected in other species (e.g. mussels).  The areas have been closed under the Primary Produce Safety (Seafood) Regulations 2014.  However these areas have generally not been tested for PST levels, rather they will remain closed to commercial fishing until the bloom fully receeds then a process of reopening will be undertaken (potentially later in 2018). The abalone closure does not apply to recreational fishers, however fishers are reminded to consider the public health alerts relating the eating of wild shellfish see the Department of Public Health website.

Giant Crab Fishery PST Closure - 20 November 2017

Due to the strong bloom of the toxic algae Alexandrium tamarense, eastern and southern waters of the commercial giant crab fishery are closed to the setting of giant crab traps and the taking of giant crab (male and female). “Eastern and southern waters” are defined to mean the area of State waters adjacent to the east, south east and south coasts of Tasmania south of the line of latitude at 41° 40’ South and east of the line of longitude running due south of the southernmost extremity of Whale Head, excluding waters south of the line of latitude 43° 40’ South and west of longitude 148° East. The map below depicts the closed area for giant crab.As areas re-open to rock lobster fishing, the corresponding area will be open to giant crab fishing, or if giant crab samples are collected, analysed for PSTs and these results used to determine the status of that zone for crab fishing.

Giant crab biotoxin closure as of November 2017, closed zone depicted in red.


Rock Lobster Fishery PST Update - 10 November 2017

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.



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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