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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

7 September 2004

Tasmanian Labor must act to protect Giant Freshwater Lobster

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, has called on the Tasmanian Government to take action to protect the Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Lobster.

"As we commemorate National Threatened Species Day today, there is no better time for them to act than right now," Senator Campbell said.

The Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Lobster, astacopsis gouldi, is one of the largest freshwater invertebrates in the world and lives only in the rivers of northern Tasmania. It was the first invertebrate species to be nationally-listed as threatened, and is currently listed as vulnerable under the Australian Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, as well as under State legislation.

"The Lobster requires streams with good water quality and ample canopy cover. Habitat clearance and disturbance, combined with the effects of past fishing, is reducing Lobster numbers and the viability of some populations," Senator Campbell said.

Since 1996, the Howard Liberal Government has invested more than $190,000 in Natural Heritage Trust funding for protection of the Giant Freshwater Lobster. This investment has contributed to the development of a recovery plan, assessment of habitat requirements, population monitoring, and community education and awareness.

"I am optimistic that we are close to seeing a final Recovery Plan for the Lobster. Tasmania nevertheless needs to act before the Recovery Plan is in place, to ensure that any forestry operations that could impact on the survival of the lobster are subject to strict, precautionary management that protects habitat quality.

"I have written to the Tasmanian Minister responsible for forest management, Bryan Green, requesting action to ensure that the Lobster habitat is protected. Better protection of the Lobster could be achieved by leaving more vegetation around waterways when harvesting takes place.

"The Howard Liberal Government will not stand by and see the numbers of this species decline and I have urged Minister Green to do whatever is necessary to facilitate the finalisation of the Recovery Plan to protect the Lobster," Senator Campbell said.

Commonwealth of Australia