Our Waterway Mini-Conference

In August, the D'Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration organised mini-conference showcasing current knowledge of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Huon Estuary. The jam-packed program featured a broad range of talks looking at how we value the waterway, waterway condition and management, biodiversity and coastal hazards.

The venue was filled to capacity, with around 100 people coming to hear from researchers and agencies speaking on the day, including speakers from NRM South, the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and the University of Tasmania, CSIRO, Aquenal, Huon Aquaculture, Tassal, BirdLife Tasmania, Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, and Kingborough Council.

Posters from some of the Collaboration’s funding partners were also on display – featuring a small selection of local projects and programs including the South East Regional Shorebirds Alliance, saltmarsh and wetlands, coastal management projects at Coningham Beach and Shipwrights Point, and aquaculture programs such as Tassal’s ‘SMART FARMS’ and Huon Aquaculture’s Sustainability Dashboard.

Beneath the Surface

The Collaboration’s new “Beneath the Surface” exhibition has already been on display at local events and the Marine Discovery Centre. The exhibition features photographs kindly provided by local researchers, showcasing the underwater environments of the Huon Estuary and D’Entrecasteaux Channel. Sharing these photos helps us to appreciate the variety of life we have in our waterways, and it will generate awareness and discussion in the community. The exhibition is available to loan by schools in the Channel and Huon areas for education purposes. Contact Nepelle Crane, at for more information.

Images above courtesy of Emma Flukes.

Cleaning up the Channel

In the last few months, Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) have been undertaking a marine debris project on Bruny Island’s beaches. With support from NRM South’s last round of Naturally Inspired Grants, CVA were able to deliver their ‘Tonne in Ten’ program. The aim was to visit 10 locations and collect up to a tonne of debris from those beaches. The beach locations selected on Bruny Island included the east and west facing beaches both north and south of The Neck. The project has attracted both local, interstate and international volunteer interest. The results have been alarming but not surprising. On the Channel-facing beaches, the debris collected has more than tripled in comparison to those beaches on the eastern side of the island. The majority of debris collected has been fishing items including rope, large oyster drums and plenty of nets. A collection of plastics, both remnants and larger plastic items, was found on all beaches. 

- Amy Bailey, Conservation Volunteers Australia

More marine debris clean up events are being planned by the D’Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration in April-May 2017 (outside the shorebird breeding season). Contact Nepelle Crane, at for more information.

"Farming and the Law" workshop

A ‘Farming and the Law’ workshop was held for over 30 farmers in Grove in September. This workshop, a collaboration between NRM South and Huon Valley Council was the first of its kind in the Huon Valley. It delivered information on current legislation relevant to land management in an easy to understand manner. 

The presenter, Jess Feehely from the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) Tasmania, shared her knowledge and experiences with participants on a range of relevant topics with a strong focus on water use, management of waterways and vegetation clearance. The new ‘Working near waterway’s’ guide, recently developed by EDO Tasmania, was used as a framework to discuss the responsible management of waterways and dams, and a free copy of the guide was provided to attendees.

Participants went away with increased knowledge and understanding in how to better manage our precious water resources. This increased knowledge and understanding amongst the community plays a vital part in maintaining and improving the health of catchments in the region. 

If you would like a download copy of the new ‘Working near waterway’s guide or to find out more about environmental law please visit EDO Tasmania here.

- Tim Ackroyd, Huon Facilitator, NRM South

Prevention is better than cure

The Department of Health and Human services (DHHS) is currently working towards increasing public awareness of the risks associated with eating recreationally harvested wild shellfish. This is because, over recent years, naturally-occurring algal blooms containing toxins that are harmful to human health have been detected across extensive areas of the south east and east coast of the state.  Shellfish feed on the algae and concentrate the toxins in their tissue.  In turn this can cause serious and even fatal illness to people who consume the shellfish. 

There are also ongoing risks to human health from eating shellfish in the Derwent and Tamar estuaries, marinas and  other areas subject to boat discharges, near sewage, industrial or stormwater outfalls, areas where septic tanks may be failing and following heavy rainfall events. 

Routine monitoring of shellfish by the Tasmanian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (TSQAP) has, in some locations, detected levels of toxins that are well above the safe level for human consumption.  When this has occurred, the Acting Director of Public Health, Dr Mark Veitch, has issued a standing health alert warning the public against collecting and eating wild shellfish. The warning explains that cooking or freezing does not make shellfish safe and to seek urgent medical help if becoming unwell after eating wild shellfish.  It also outlines the symptoms of shellfish poisoning and clarifies that seafood for sale in shops and restaurants is safe to eat.

As part of informing the public and protecting human health, including the health of visitors to the state, temporary warning signs (as shown in the photo below) have also been put up in appropriate locations along the south east and east coast of the state.  These have included boat ramps, tourist information centres and local notice boards.


Permanent warning signage is now being developed to address the ongoing risks.  A standard ‘blue’ warning sign will be displayed at all times, with a hinged ‘red’ danger  sign folding downwards when toxic algal blooms are detected.  A QR code will provide linkage to the appropriate DHHS webpage for more detailed information.  

Once the final details of the signs and their location are determined, the signs will erected and appropriate brochures made available to the public, with media releases to follow.  Signs are planned for various coastal locations throughout Kingborough and Huon Valley municipalities as well as other east and south east coastal areas.

Click here for further information or call the Public Health Hotline 1800 671 738.

Share your stories - contact us!

Have you found something interesting in the Channel or Huon waterways?
Are you running a project?
Do you have a great photo that you would like to share?

Contact us to share your story Nepelle Crane, at

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