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Sea Fishing & Aquaculture
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Home > Sea Fishing & Aquaculture > Emergency Fishery Closures

Emergency Fishery Closures

Information for Recreational Fishers
Information for Commercial Fishers

See the Update on the East Coast Toxic Algal Event (current as at 21 December 2012).


The area closed to commercial and recreational rock lobster fishing on Tasmania’s east coast has been increased to include waters from Eddystone Point to Waterhouse Island.

The latest laboratory test results (Fri Dec 21) confirmed that rock lobster sampled north of the closed area on December 15 had been impacted by toxic alga.

The levels of paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) in some samples are close to four times greater than the 0.8 mg/kg maximum recommended by public health authorities and there is no alternative but to extend the area closed to rock lobster fishing.

In response to the laboratory results, the Acting Director of Public Health has issued a public health warningYou are now leaving our site. DPIPWE is not responsible for the content of the web site to which you are going. The link does not constitute any form of endorsement regarding rock lobster in the area between Eddystone Point and a line of latitude running through the middle of Banks Strait in the north and a line running north from the eastern side of Waterhouse Island in the west. The southern boundary of the closed area at the southern end of Marion Bay remains unchanged.

Consistent with this, DPIPWE has moved the boundary of the east coast closed area both north and west to reflect the area now covered by the public health warning as shown by the red area in the map below.

DPIPWE will continue to monitor the situation and will undertake further sampling. This will inform future decision making on the situation.

Map showing areas closed to rock lobster fishing, as at 21 December 2012

Responsible actions taken by commercial rock lobster fishers and processors have enabled all rock lobster harvested from the area in question since 15 December to be accounted for to the satisfaction of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

This catch has been separated. It will only be sold if the risk of exposure to PST in rock lobster gut can be eliminated.

Information for Recreational Fishers

Recreational fishers who may have harvested shellfish, rock lobster and crabs from the closed area are strongly advised to heed the advice contained in the public health warningsYou are now leaving our site. DPIPWE is not responsible for the content of the web site to which you are going. The link does not constitute any form of endorsement.

Note the closure is in response to public health alerts and the closure is a legally enforced closure from the date of the public notice.

The recreational abalone fishery re-opened from 14 December 2012.

Recreational Fishing - Frequently Asked Questions

Can fishers transit areas?
The closure applies to taking rock lobster, not possession of rock lobster. For this closure, recreational fishers can fish in the open part of the fishery and transit back through the closed area to their landing point.

Do I get a refund for my licence?
No refunds or partial refunds are offered. The fishery opened as usual, and it is unfortunate that part of the fishery is closed for a health alert. All other waters remain open and the closure may only be short term. You may note that revenue from the sale of sea fishing licences supports the Fishwise Fund and provides funds for programs that support recreational fishing activities. Go to the Fishwise Funds Planning and Expenditure web page for a summary of how the funds are used.

Should I purchase a licence this year?
The decision to purchase a licence is your decision. If you do not purchase a licence this year, you can still purchase a licence next year. If you state you have held a licence previously, you may keep your Unique Identifying Code for marking the buoys.

Can I delay my licence purchase?
If the only place you fish is on the East Coast in the current closed area, you may wish to delay the purchase of a licence, until the notification of re-opening occurs. Licences are available for purchase over the internet and a receipt will be issued. Similarly, you can go into Service Tasmania to purchase a licence when the affected part of the fishery reopens. A reminder that Service Tasmania shops are not open on weekends and during some holiday periods.

Which fish can I eat?

There are public health warnings in place for the eating of wild shellfish. For up-to-date information about public health alerts relating to eating wild shellfish, refer to the Director of Public Health's current Public Health warningsYou are now leaving our site. DPIPWE is not responsible for the content of the web site to which you are going. The link does not constitute any form of endorsement or phone the Department of Health and Human Services hotline on 1800 671 738.

If you have a specific food safety query e.g. I have rock lobster in my freezer which were taken from the closed area before the closure - are they safe to eat? - please phone the Public Health Hotline (details are below) as Wild Fisheries Management Branch, DPIPWE cannot provide detailed advice on health queries.

Information for Commercial Fishers

Rock Lobster Fishery:

The area closed to rock lobster fishing was extended in the north to Waterhouse Island. See map above.

Links to relevant advice and documentation from the Department can be found below:
Abalone Fishery: The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has now lifted all export control orders relating to abalone harvesting between Eddystone Point and Deep Glen Bay. However the commercial abalone fishery on the East Coast closed on 31 December 2012 and will open again on 1 April 2013 in line with season dates that have been applied to this part of the fishery for the past two years.

Commercial Dive Fishery: Opened from 14 December.

Further information

Recreational fishery enquiries: Ph (03) 6233 7042 or 1300 720 647 or subscribe to our email news service.
Commercial fishery enquiries: Ph (03) 6233 6797

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