Biotoxin Fishery Events
Update on Paralytic Shellfish Toxins (PST) - 30 November 2020
PST testing has been conducted on sentinel shellfish species since 1 June and levels have been virtually negligible to date. Under the biotoxin monitoring program protocols, there has been no requirement to test rock lobster prior to the opening of the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone season.
This year, ocean conditions such as stratification of the water column by salinity and/or temperature do not appear to be conducive to producing a harmful algal bloom on the East Coast. You may see the occasional algal bloom around at the moment but these are not PST species.
Biotoxin zones and boundary maps
How do toxic algal blooms affect the rock lobster fishery?
Toxic algal blooms
Some species of naturally occurring algae that produce toxins have been present in eastern and southern Tasmanian waters over the past few years.
These algae can produce
paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) that accumulate in shellfish feeding on the algae. Humans can ingest these toxins when eating shellfish such as oysters, mussels, scallops and clams.
Abalone, scallop roes and the intestines and livers of rock lobster can also be affected when toxic algal blooms are present.
How do they affect the rock lobster fishery?
Extensive algal blooms affecting the rock lobster fishery have occurred off the east coast periodically since 2012.
Rock lobster feed on shellfish and can become contaminated with PSTs. Toxins build up in specific organs (rarely in the flesh) and can be dangerous to humans when eaten. When biotoxin levels are above the prescribed minimum limit, the affected zones may be closed to fishing.
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
Public health alerts:
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 Monitoring Program and Decision Making Protocols 2020 (595Kb)
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.