University of Tasmania

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Establishment of a fishery for a range extending species

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 17:46 authored by John KeaneJohn Keane, Olivia JohnsonOlivia Johnson
Climate driven range extension of the sea urchin Centrostephanus rodgersii has led to the establishment of a wild harvest industry for this species in Tasmania. Unreported in the state before 1978, winter warming of waters above the critical temperature threshold for larval development of 12oC has resulted in the species becoming highly abundant, even causing extensive urchin barrens in some regions (Ling et al., 2008, 2009). Trial harvests for the lucrative urchin roe were first conducted in 2009, with the fishery growing to yield landings of 96 tonne by 2014 before the closure of the main processor (Fig 1). Current production supplies the domestic market, although options to export product have been explored. Industry subsidies are further being trialled in an attempt to accelerate the fishery. Research into the effects of fishing have shown the decline is size and age structure with increasing fishing intensity (Fig 2), with fishing effort overlapping that of the abalone industry. High levels of fishing pressure should minimise destructive urchin grazing and barren expansion on coastal reefs, as well as help protect reef dependant fisheries.


Fisheries Research & Development Corporation


Publication title

SE Australia MCIA symposium abstracts


Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

Event title

SE Australia MCIA symposium

Event Venue

CSIRO, Hobart

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Date of Event (End Date)


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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Marine biodiversity

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    University Of Tasmania


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