Long Spined Sea Urchin Research Project
Rock lobster, abalone and dive fishing restrictions apply in the two research areas
Research conducted so far has shown that large rock lobsters have the potential to be an effective predator of the long-spined sea urchin. To test how effective they are in wild conditions, the research trials will increase the population of large rock lobsters in an attempt to reduce long-spined sea urchin numbers in an urchin affected area around Elephant Rock and North Bay.
To ensure the scientific validity of the research project, the temporary Research Areas will be closed to commercial and recreational fishing by diving, and the use of rock lobster pots or rings, for up to three years.
Recreational fishing for scalefish by rod and line, long line, drop line and the use of nets is permitted in the Research Areas. Please note that the bottom corner of the Elephant Rock Research Area is subject to an existing prohibition on the use of recreational graball and mullet nets and setlines, including long and drop lines, for the area of Georges Bay West of a line between Grants Point and St Helens Point as the area is a Shark Refuge. These prohibitions continue to apply in this part of the Research Area.
Excessive numbers of the long-spined sea urchin threaten the habitat of two of Tasmania’s most valuable and popular wild fisheries, abalone and southern rock lobster, and it is vitally important that we fully investigate population control options to preserve the diversity of Tasmania’s marine habitats.
Another option to be trialed is to enlist the help of commercial abalone divers in reducing long spined urchin numbers as part of their abalone diving and reporting activities.
The research project is being conducted by the Institute for Marine and Antartic Studies (formerly the Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute) with funding provided by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, NRM North and NRM South and with the support of the Department and abalone, rock lobster and recreational fishing advisory committees. Visit the urchin research homepage for the latest information on the project.
For further information about the Research Areas or the research project, please contact the Wild Fisheries Management Branch, DPIPWE on (03) 6233 6208 or via Department switchboard on 1300 368 550 (local call).
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