The Greens have today succeeded in gaining support from all sides of politics to initiate a long overdue Senate inquiry into the spread of invasive long-spined sea urchins that are ravaging lutruwita/Tasmania and Victoria’s coastlines and fisheries.
The inquiry will look into how to restore critical habitat such as lutruwita/Tasmania’s giant kelp forests which have been lost to urchins and other pressures.
Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson for healthy oceans and Senator for lutruwita/Tasmania, Peter Whish-Wilson:
“I moved for this inquiry because invasive NSW long-spined sea urchins have been range-shifting down our east coast with climate change over recent decades, decimating marine ecosystems and fisheries in their wake, yet virtually nothing has been done by the federal government to research, manage or mitigate this risk.
“It’s predicted that lutruwita/Tasmania has already lost 30 percent of its productive east coast reefs to the spread of invasive long-spined sea urchins, with entire swathes of critical habitat made totally barren of the biodiversity that is critical to our marine life and fisheries.
“Scientific modelling predicts that by 2050 half of lutruwita/Tasmania’s reefs will be gone if we don’t take immediate action on climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.
“There is much we can do to restore our vanishing marine forests and other habitats, but the good work already underway urgently needs federal government assistance.
“The Great Barrier Reef receives billions of dollars in federal funding to help restore its much degraded ecosystems, but its sister to the south - the Great Southern Reef - gets next to no funding.
“Both recreational and commercial fishing groups have been calling for federal government intervention on this critical problem. This inquiry will give these groups a chance to be heard, as well as hear from scientific, First Nations and other stakeholders about what can be done.”