Federal funding key to tackling invasive sea urchin


The Tasmanian Government’s allocation of an additional $5.1 million to the Abalone Industry Reinvestment Fund is welcome, but must now be backed up by Federal funding. 

Federal funding will be critical for the containment and management of the invasive sea urchin and ensuring the recovery of our abalone and rock lobster fisheries habitat. 

Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson for healthy oceans, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson:

“Long-spined sea urchins have been range-shifting down our east coast with climate change over recent decades, decimating southern ocean marine ecosystems and fisheries in their wake, yet virtually nothing has been done by the federal government to research, manage or mitigate this risk.

“At the last federal election both influential recreational and commercial fishing groups called for federal government attention and assistance on this critical problem. The state government can only do so much, it’s time the federal government acted. 

“I initiated a Senate inquiry into the spread and impacts from the invasive long-spined sea urchin, and evidence presented at the inquiry’s hearings so far suggests the need and strong appetite for state and federal government cooperation on this most challenging issue.

“Scientific modelling predicts that by 2050 half of lutruwita/Tasmania’s reefs will be turned into urchin barrens if we don’t take immediate action on climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.

“Stopping the formation of new urchin barrens is critical to the recovery of federally endangered Giant Kelp forests. Funding for pest urchin removal could be part of an EPBC recovery plan for this marine habitat.

“The Greens call for a federally coordinated funding approach to managing climate invasive marine pests through a Great Southern Reef Research Centre of Excellence. The Great Barrier Reef rightly receives billions of dollars in funding to help tackle the invasive crown of thorns starfish. A $40m commitment to a Great Southern Reef Research Centre of Excellence would be just a drop in the ocean in comparison.”