Tasmanian Kelp Fishery

Ministerial Decision
Ian Cresswell, Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, 05 February 2005

Hon Steve Kons MHA
Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment
Parliamentary Office
Salamanca Place
Hobart TAS 7000

Dear Minister

I am writing to you as the Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage in relation to the assessment of the harvest of cast Bull Kelp (Durvillaea potatorum) by Kelp Industries Pty Ltd on King Island under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act). On 12 August 2004, Kelp Industries submitted a document titled 'Proposal to Harvest and Export Native Flora' for the purpose of an export decision under the Act. Kelp Industries Pty Ltd have previously held a declaration of the harvest as an approved Wildlife Trade Operation under s. 303FN of the Act which ended on 19 February 2005.

The submission has been assessed for the purposes of the wildlife trade provisions of Part 13A of the Act. I am pleased to advise that assessment of the fishery is now complete. The assessment report will be available on the Department of the Environment and Heritage website at: http://www.deh.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/index.html.

I am satisfied that the operation of the fishery is consistent with objects of the wildlife trade provisions in Part 13A of the Act. Hence, I have declared the harvest as an approved Wildlife Trade Operation (WTO), under Part 13A of the Act. This declaration will allow the export of product for the next three years. I have made the declaration subject to the conditions at Attachment A.

In making my decision I had particular regard to a number of risks that must be managed to ensure that harvesting impacts are minimised. A significant issue is the potential for impact of harvesting on shorebirds reliant on the beaches on which the collection occurs. In recognition of this I have amended a previous condition to extend the period in which harvesting is prohibited by one month, from September to March (inclusive) to August to March (inclusive) (see condition 4 in Attachment A), to provide protection for nesting birds.

DEH recognises that the management arrangements for this fishery are still in a developmental stage but that DPIWE is committed to progressing the development of sound management arrangements. DEH notes that, while the harvest is limited to what is cast onshore, DPIWE recognises the importance of maintaining a limited take to provide for the ecological needs of beach species reliant on cast bull kelp. The management regime aims to ensure that the harvest of cast kelp is conducted in a manner that minimises impact on the structure, productivity, function and biological diversity of the beach ecosystem. On balance, the fishery is being managed in an ecologically sustainable manner and management is working to minimise environmental risks.

While there are some environmental risks associated with this fishery, I believe that DPIWE is committed to addressing these issues. Officers from our two departments have discussed key areas requiring ongoing and increased attention. I understand that they have agreed to a number of recommended actions to be implemented before the next DEH review of the fishery. The recommendations (Attachment B) have been an important factor in my decision to declare the fishery a WTO and I look forward to receiving your confirmation that they will be implemented.

I would like to thank you for the constructive way in which your officials have approached this assessment.

Yours sincerely

Ian Cresswell
Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage

5 February 2005

Conditions on the Approved Wildlife Trade Declaration for the harvest of cast bull kelp by Kelp Industries Pty Ltd

(extract from WTO declaration)

Regulated native specimens to which the Declaration applies
Taxon Common name Product type
Durvillaea potatorum Bull Kelp Processed dried parts and products from King Island operations

Additional provision (S303FT)

Relating to the harvesting of beach-washed bull kelp (Durvillaea potatorum), harvested from specified beaches of King Island, Tasmania by a number of licensed harvesters under the Tasmanian Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995 and processed by Kelp Industries Pty Ltd.

  1. Harvesting of beach-cast Durvillaea potatorum is restricted to:
    1. the west coast of King Island between Cape Wickham and approximately five kilometres due south of Ettrick Beach;
    2. the south coast of King Island from Surprise Bay to the east of Stokes Point; and
    3. the south-east coast of King Island from three areas around Red Hut Point, Grassy Harbour and City of Melbourne Bay.
  2. Harvesting is to be in accordance with conditions stipulated on relevant licences issued by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (TDPIWE).
  3. The harvest is restricted to a maximum of 50% of available beach-washed material at each harvesting site.
  4. Harvesting and transporting of kelp and/or equipment is prohibited from August to March (inclusive) on sandy beaches, except the north-end of British Admiral Beach and any other sandy beach for which a representative from TDPIWE has verified in writing that harvesting would not be detrimental to nesting Thinornis rubricollis (hooded plovers).
  5. Recording of monthly harvest figures is to be undertaken as specified by the Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Heritage.
  6. A quarterly report on the monthly harvest figures to be submitted to the Secretary within one month of the end of each quarter.

Recommendations to the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (DPIWE) on the ecologically sustainable harvest of cast bull kelp by Kelp Industries Pty Ltd

While the harvest is relatively well managed, a number of risks and uncertainties that must be managed to ensure that their impacts are minimised have been identified. The following recommendations aim to address these risks and uncertainties. DPIWE should action these recommendations before the next review in 2007 or within the timeframe specified in individual recommendations.

Recommendation 1: DPIWE to pursue a strategic approach to management of marine plants in Tasmania and, in particular, management of the harvest of beach cast bull kelp on King Island.

Recommendation 2:DPIWE to inform DEH of any changes to the management arrangements for the harvest of bull kelp on King Island that may impact on the ecological sustainability of the operation.

Recommendation 3:DPIWE to develop formal liaison arrangements with Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife to monitor the impacts of the harvesting of cast bull kelp on protected bird species.