Welcome to the first edition of the D'Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration newsletter! We want to make sure you know what's happening in the Collaboration, so we will be sending out regular newsletters with a brief summary of our current activities and other news from the waterway.

We also have a Facebook page and a website, which will both be updated regularly.

Partnership to protect Tassie's most popular waterway

The D’Entrecasteaux and Huon waterways are shared-use waterways that host more Tasmanian recreational fishers and boaters than any other in Tasmania, and with thriving commercial operators and growing residential development it is critical that the area’s natural values are managed effectively.

On 4 December 2015 an innovative partnership agreement was signed between industry, government and natural resource managers. The partnership provides a framework for collaboration that will support and enhance natural diversity and improve the condition of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Huon Estuary. Read more here...

Coming Soon....

We are developing a report card on the condition of the D'Entrecasteaux and Huon waterways, focusing on water quality and sediment health, pollution types and sources, swimming and seafood safety, coastal and marine habitats, and climate. The report card will be released in early 2016.

The Collaboration will also be working on litter and marine debris projects, stormwater and projects to improve condition of natural values in the coastal, marine and estuarine environments.

The Collaboration is looking forward to growing the program and encourage other industry partners and waterway users to come on board.

Other news from our waterway...

Huon Handfish!

A critically endangered handfish has recently been 'spotted' near the mouth of the Huon Estuary. As part of research funded by the Threatened Species Commissioners Office, CSIRO has been undertaking surveys for the spotted handfish. While most of this work has been conducted in the Derwent Estuary, several sites in the D’Entrecasteaux have also been investigated.

The spotted handfish (Brachionichthys hirsutus) was recorded adjacent to a salmon aquaculture lease (David Flynn CSIRO photo credit). This is very exciting news as it confirms an industry report, and that a second meta-population of this critically endangered species exists outside of the Derwent.

Recent CSIRO and UTAS video transect work on spotted handfish has shown that they prefer complex micro-habitats (Wong 2015). An impact on the handfish, identified by the species recovery plan, are yacht moorings, as their chains and rope smooth out the bottom.

Modern non-chain moorings have been developed for use in sensitive habitat such as seagrass. In Tasmania, CSIRO has 30 years experience in the design and deployment of non-chain moorings as research moorings are generally required to stay in one position - either for scientific reasons or due to deployment into sensitive areas. To help achieve this, a CSIRO invention was developed with a local company (Specialised Industrial Products), which includes a cost effective bungee mooring component, replacing the chain. In known habitat for spotted handfish, moving to non-chain moorings may be a useful option to better conserve habitat, if this can be done in a cost effective manner. Though, any changes to current moorings would need to be very carefully considered as to not impact on existing populations of fish.

Channel Orcas!

We were treated to a rare visit from a pod of 7 orcas in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel earlier this month. The Australian Orca Database confirmed that some of the members of the pod had visited the area exactly 5 years ago. One of the individuals, known as 'Split Fin' is believed to be the matriarch of the pod known as EA1. The videos and photos shared on facebook were fantastic! This photo from ABC News website was taken by Kane Bowman. Read more here...

Biotoxin Update

A very strong and extensive bloom of the toxic alga Alexandrium tamarenses - which produces a paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) - has had a substantial impact on rock lobster and shellfish fisheries across eastern Tasmania - including in the D'Entrecasteaux and Huon areas.

The opening of the rock lobster fishing season was delayed recently. While the Huon zone re-opened at the end of November, most of the east coast remained closed until mid-December. The Maria Island zone remains closed. Read more here...


Speaking of whales...

It is fantastic to see orcas, humpbacks, southern rights and even sperm whales re-appearing in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel in recent years. Don't forget to report whales to the DPIPWE Whale Hotline: 0427 WHALES (0427 942537). Also, it's really important that the dolphin and whale watching guidelines are followed, to ensure human safety and to protect the welfare of the animals. Read more here...
Copyright © 2015 D'Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboartion, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 425, South Hobart, TAS, 7004

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