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21 May 2009 - Tasmanias iconic giant kelp forests nominated as threatened under federal law      


21 May 2009 

Humane Society International has nominated Tasmania’s giant underwater kelp forests (Macrocystus pyrifera) as a ‘Threatened Ecological Community’ under the federal Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Environment Tasmania is supporting this nomination and progressing an equivalent listing in Tasmania.

“Tasmania’s giant kelp forests are unique and iconic, renowned both in Australia and globally. They are incredibly important ecosystems supporting a high diversity of plant and animal species, providing habitat for economically important populations of rock lobster and abalone, and are socially important areas for enjoyment and appreciation of our spectacular marine environment. Yet on the east coast of Tasmania they have been in serious decline for many years,” said Danielle Annese from Humane Society International.

“Despite our giant kelp forests being ecologically, economically and socially important, they have been offered little protection in Tasmania. These ecosystems are like the coral reefs of our cool water marine environments, and yet we have stood by and watched them decline drastically over recent decades,” said Rebecca Hubbard of Environment Tasmania.

“Changes in nutrient availability, sea surface temperature, invading marine pests and fishing impacts are having a compounding impact on these unique ecosystems, and they must be offered extra protection or we may see their extinction in our lifetimes,” said Ms Annese.

“If successful, the nomination of the giant kelp forests as a threatened ecological community under federal law will help us to better protect these crucial ecosystems. Combined with nomination under state law, we could help to secure the future of this iconic ecosystem, before it’s too late,” concluded Ms Hubbard.

Environment Tasmania is Tasmania’s conservation council, an umbrella body that represents 25 Tasmanian conservation groups, with collective representation of over 6000 Tasmanians.

Humane Society International concentrates on the preservation of endangered animals and ecosystems and works to ensure quality of life for all animals, both domestic and wild. HSI is the largest animal protection not-for-profit organisation in the world, with over 10 million supporters globally and has been established in Australia since 1994.

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