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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 94

Senator Brown asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 30 June 2004:

With reference to the Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi:

(1) What impact do clearfell logging and associated activities like road-building or regeneration burning have on the crayfish and its habitat.

(2) What studies have been done to assess the crayfish and/or its survival status.

(3) How many of these crayfish remain.

(4) (a) What is the extent of its habitat; and (b) is it increasing or decreasing in numbers and range.

(5) Has a recovery plan been prepared; if not, why not.

(6) What are the Minister's responsibilities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the regional forest agreement, to ensure that neither this crayfish nor its habitat is compromised or degraded.

Senator Ian Campbell (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Depending on the manner in which they are undertaken, forestry and related activities have the potential to cause a deterioration of water quality and crayfish habitat.

(2) The Department of the Environment and Heritage is aware of the following studies which assess the crayfish and/or its survival status are:

Davies, P.E. and Cook, L.S. J. 2004. Juvenile Astacopsis gouldi in headwater streams -relative abundance and habitat. Report to the Forest Practices Board.

Forteath, N. 1987. The aquaculture potential of the giant freshwater crayfish Astacopsis gouldi. School of Applied Science, Tasmanian State Institute of Technology, Launceston.

Growns, I.O. 1995. Astacopsis gouldi in streams of the Gog Range, northern Tasmania: the effects of catchment disturbance. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 129: 1-6.

Hamr, P. 1990a. Comparative reproductive biology of the Tasmanian freshwater crayfishes Astacopsis gouldi Clark, Astacopsis franklinii Gray, and Parastacoides tasmanicus Clark (Decapoda: Parastacidae). Unpublished PhD Thesis, Department of Zoology, University of Tasmania.

Hamr, P. 1992. A revision of the Tasmanian freshwater crayfish genus Astacopsis Huxley (Decapoda: Parastacidae) a freshwater crayfish from Tasmania. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 126: 91 - 94.

Horwitz, P. 1990. Conservation status of Australian freshwater Crustacea. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service Report Series no. 14, Canberra.

Horwitz, P. 1991. On the distribution and exploitation of the Tasmanian giant freshwater lobster Astacopsis gouldi Clark. Centre for Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart.

Horwitz, P. 1994. The distribution and conservation status of the Tasmanian giant freshwater lobster Astacopsis gouldi Clark (Decapoda: Parastacidae). Biological Conservation 69: 199 - 206.

Horwitz, P. and Hamr, P. 1988. An assessment of the Caroline Creek freshwater crayfish reserve in northern Tasmania. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 122: 69-72.

Lynch, T. and Blhdorn, D.R. 1997. Reservation assessment and habitat requirements of the giant Tasmanian freshwater lobster, Astacopsis gouldi. Report to the Tasmanian RFA Environment and Heritage Technical Committee, Hobart.

Swain, R., Richardson, A.M.M., and Hortle, M. 1982. Revision of the Tasmanian genus of freshwater crayfish Astacopsis Huxley (Decapoda: Parastacidae). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 33: 699 - 709.

Walsh, T. and Nash, W. 2002. Factors influencing the health of the giant freshwater lobster in Tasmanian rivers. Unpublished report, Inland Fisheries Service, Tasmania.

Walsh, T. 2003. The giant freshwater lobster - the identification of important catchments. Draft unpublished report, Inland Fisheries Service, Tasmania.

Webb, M. 2001. Movement patterns and habitat use of adult Astacopsis gouldi in the Dip River, north-west Tasmania. Unpublished Honours thesis, School of Zoology, University of Tasmania.

(3) Based on studies of populations in various river reaches and the extent of its range, the population is thought to be in the order of tens of thousands of individuals.

(4) (a) The species is found in rivers in the north of Tasmania below about 400 metres altitude; and (b) evidence indicates the species is declining in numbers and its area of occurrence is reducing.

(5) A Recovery Plan is being prepared.

(6) Actions that are likely to have a significant impact on this species, with the exception of forestry operations undertaken in accordance with the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement (RFA), require the approval of the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage. A recovery plan is also required.