Marine Plant Fishery

​​​​​​​​​​Overview 

​​Tasmania does not allow the taking of native seaweed species directly from the ocean. The importance of seaweed for a healthy marine environment includes protecting native species and only allowing the harvesting of cast native marine plants. 

'Cast' marine plants are defined in the legislation as a marine plant that has been cast onshore by wave action, tidal action, storm action or other natural forces but does not include marine plants attached to the seabed or other substrate. 

The availability of the cast seaweed resource is sporadic, varying due to seasonality and weather patterns. This erratic availability means that at times there is too much for the industry to manage while at other times there is little to harvest. 

There are three main components of the existing Marine Plant Fishery: bull kelp; undaria and other seaweeds. More details about the Marine Plant Fishery can be found in the following document. 

  Marine Plant Policy Sept 2017   (3Mb)


Bull Kelp

King Island Bull Kelp

King Island Bull Kelp

​Bull kelp attracts the greatest interest in the fishery. The collection of cast bull kelp occurs in two general areas, King Island and the Northern sections of the West Coast. 

Bull kelp that is collected on King Island is dried and granulated ready to export, supplying about 5% of the world production of alginates.

Kelp harvesting also occurs on the West Coast of Tasmania where there are two centres of operations: around Bluff Hill Point and at Granville Harbour. The cast bull kelp is used in commercial gardens and pastures and on private gardens. 

Undaria

Undaria (Wakame/Japanese Kelp)

Undaria (Wakame/Japanese Kelp)

Undaria, which is also known as wakame or Japanese kelp, is a brown algae from Japan that was possibly introduced by ballast water. It is currently found from between the D'Entrecasteaux Channel to the north of St Helens. The harvest main operations are centred on the East Coast around the port of Triabunna​.

Since Undaria is an introduced marine pest, the harvesting of this species does not need to be constrained for resource sustainability purposes.  It was initially hoped that the harvest would help slow the spread of the pest but levels of harvesting have not been sufficient to achieve this.

The take of Undaria for recreational purposes is currently not permitted and this arrangement is proposed to continue to minimise potential spread. Go to the Undaria Action Plan​ page for more details about how to prevent the further spread of this pest. 

Other Seaweeds

Other Seaweeds

Other Seaweeds​

There are several locations around Tasmania where large volumes of seaweed and seagrass are washed ashore. At some of the locations, licensed operators are able to collect the cast weed. The bulk of the cast weed is bagged and sold in garden shops as garden mulch. These are usually small-scale operations working a few beaches.

Managing the fishery 

The Tasmanian Marine Plant Fishery is managed under the provision of the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995​ and the Fisheries (Marine Plant) Rules 2017

Contact

Wild Fisheries Management Officer
Sharna Rainer
Wild Fisheries Management Branch
Level 3, 134 Macquarie Street
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 0457 124 668
Email: Sharna.Rainer@nre.tas.gov.au