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Issues

Condition
    Threatening Processes
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        At a glance

        The issue

        This issue report refers to the removal, either continually or intermittently, of Tasmanian native fauna for a consumptive purpose such as for food, fur or for recreational purposes. Fauna culled for crop protection is not included within this issue.

        Since the earliest period of human habitation, Tasmanian's native fauna species have been harvested for food and utilitarian purposes by aboriginal people. Since European settlement a number of Tasmanian native species have been extensively harvested, some more than others, with predators the first species targeted solely for the purpose of minimising economic loss. The most notable species harvested were the Thylacine and the Tasmanian Emu, which were both hunted to extinction.

        The species currently harvested in Tasmania are: brushtail possums, wallabies (Bennetts and Tasmanian pademelon), muttonbirds, Cape Baron Geese (eggs), and freshwater vertebrates, particularly blackfish and short-finned eels.

        This 'At a glance' section provides an overview of the issue of native fauna harvesting. More detailed information is available in the Native Fauna Harvesting Issue Report. Four indicators are presented that report on native species harvested in Tasmania and those under permit and with management plans, the number of recreational licenses issued for harvesting native species, and population trends of the brushtail possum.

        No specific recommendation is provided on this issue.

        Favourable news

        • Surveys by the DPIWE to monitor the populations of native fauna including Bennetts wallaby, Tasmanian pademelon, brushtail possum, shearwaters (muttonbirds), Cape Barren geese and wild duck are carried out on an annual basis to assist in the management and harvesting of these species.
           
        • Harvesting and culling of native fauna is managed through a number of pieces of legislation including the Nature Conservation Act 2002, Animal Welfare Act 1993 and the Wildlife Regulations 1999.
           
        • Licences for the taking of native fauna are issued by the DPIWE and are either commercial or non-commercial. The Department regulates harvesting through the proclamation of seasons, bag limits and the supervision of recreational hunting. The number of recreational licenses issued for all species declined by 40% from 1997 to 2002.
           
        • The Tasmanian Government has developed management programs for species to be harvested and has established a quota allocation for harvested species. Four out of the five species under permit in Tasmania, including brushtail possums, muttonbirds, Flinders Island wallabies and for the harvesting of Cape Barren Goose eggs have harvest management programs established.
           
        • Property-based game management plans now cover over 330 properties in Tasmania to assist in the management of recreational hunting and ensure that hunting is carried out on a sustainable basis. Hunting records are maintained on these properties.
           
        • Wildlife enforcement officers undertake measuring of compliance with relevant legislation.
           

        Unfavourable and uncertain news

        • A limited assessment has been presented of the impacts of native fauna harvesting on species populations and Tasmania's biodiversity as a whole in this SoE Report.
           
        • It is known that illegal harvesting or poaching of the brushtail possum, Bennetts wallaby, Tasmanian pademelon, muttonbird and Forester kangaroo occurs in Tasmania. The size of the illegal harvest is unknown but there is evidence that illegal harvesting is impacting upon the populations of certain species in some locations.
           

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        email: soe@justice.tas.gov.au
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        Or mail to: RPDC, GPO Box 1691, Hobart, TAS, 7001, Australia
         


        Last Modified: 14 Dec 2006
        URL: http://soer.justice.tas.gov.au/2003/bio/4/issue/59/ataglance.php
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