Biotoxins delay rock lobster season opening
The opening of the recreational rock lobster season in the Eastern Region (waters eastward of Point Sorell and Whale Head) scheduled for 21 November 2015 has been postponed due to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) measured in rock lobster and bivalve indicator species.
Results obtained as of Monday 9 November indicate elevated PST levels in rock lobster and bivalve shellfish across a wider area of the East Coast and particularly high levels in areas in the north east. These results mean that the sampling area must now be expanded further to determine the extent of the harmful algal bloom and biotoxin levels in lobsters.
The closure will continue to be reviewed as new results are received. If the PST results fall below trigger levels in particular zones of the Eastern Region, some zones may open relatively quickly. For those zones that have returned high levels of PST, such as the north east (Upper East Biotoxin Zone) the opening may take more time.
All efforts are being made to facilitate the appropriate sampling, and if low levels are detected, to open zones of the fishery.
Any biotoxin closure applies to both the commercial and recreational sectors. The commercial Eastern Region opening is scheduled for 30 November but may be impacted if elevated PST levels in lobsters persist.
Updates of the situation will continue to be posted. Recreational and commercial rock lobster fishers are urged to check the DPIPWE Biotoxin Fishery Events webpage and Fisheries Tasmania Facebook page for the latest information.
Recreational Fisheries Section, DPIPWE
Phone: 1300 720 647