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The following information on the implications for biodiversity of harvesting of freshwater and marine fisheries is sourced from the Nature Conservation Strategy (State Biodiversity Committee 2002). The Coastal, Estuarine and Marine Chapter provides further analysis of broader environmental and fisheries management issues and implications associated with this harvesting in the marine environment.
Wild Fisheries and Aquaculture
The harvesting of Tasmania's wild fisheries and marine farming are key issues for the State. They are both important to the State's economy, rely on the quality of the water they receive, and have the potential to cause environmental harm if unregulated.
The impacts of commercial fishing and aquaculture on natural diversity varies from fishery to fishery. The most obvious and direct impact of wild fisheries is the overfishing of target species, causing their decline below sustainable commercial levels. Some fishing or farming practices involve catches of unwanted species (by-catch), such as non-edible fish species, seals, dolphins, turtles and albatrosses, due to the use of gill nets and long lines or from net entanglement (Gales et al. 1998, Koslow and Gowlett-Holmes 1998). Other impacts include damage to marine habitats from dredges and trawl nets, nutrient loading from aquaculture feed inputs, and the problem of aquaculture species escaping into the wild (e.g. Atlantic salmon, Pacific oysters).
Commercial and recreational freshwater fishing in Tasmania are managed by the Inland Fisheries Service under the Inland Fisheries Act 1995. There are several types of commercial activities that operate in inland waters. One fishery is the commercial eel fishery which harvests adult eels (mainly short-finned eels). This fishery is licensed and managed on an allocated catchment basis and has been operational for many years. Some research is presently being conducted to define the extent of the glass eel resource in some parts of Tasmania. The Service also manages a very minor commercial fishery for the harvest of dragonfly larvae (mudeyes).
The most significant recreational fishery in Tasmania is based on introduced brown trout and rainbow trout. This is an important industry for the State, in terms of local and international interest, and it provides financial benefits to many sectors of the community. However, from a conservation perspective it is problematic because trout have been responsible for the serious decline of a number of native fish species, 12 of which are now listed under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995. While it is an enormous (and for many undesirable) task to remove trout, we can at least ensure that trout are contained within the existing populations and do not enter new waterways. The Inland Fisheries Service has a policy to implement this measure.
The Inland Fisheries Service is also responsible for the conservation management of all freshwater fish including native fish. It also manages other resources such as native freshwater invertebrates, conducts important research into a range of activities which operate in freshwater environments and conducts several threatened species' recovery programs. They deal with issues such as freshwater habitat loss through the damming and diverting of water, the maintenance of environmental flows, control of point source pollution, and management of the impacts of agricultural and forestry land use. The recently established Fisheries Habitat Improvement Fund is a welcome initiative that aims to encourage recreational fishers and other stakeholders to support the protection of native species.
Contact the Commission on: email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (03) 6233 2795 (within Australia) Fax: (03) 6233 5400 (within Australia) Or mail to: RPDC, GPO Box 1691, Hobart, TAS, 7001, Australia
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2006
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