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Welcome aboard Wong: climate change hits Tas rock lobster industry

Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne has welcomed Minister Wong's recognition of the effects of global warming on Tasmania's rock lobster industry.

"Three years ago I released a report on the Climate Impacts being felt in Tasmania and the change to the currents and consequences for fisheries was evident then. Kelp forests were clearly under attack from the invasive sea urchin transported to Tasmanian waters by the ever expanding Eastern Australian current, but where were the Lennon government or the Howard and Rudd governments in the intervening years?

State and Federal government failure to take climate change seriously and to act quickly has had severe consequences.

"We have experienced three more years of warming waters on Tasmania's East Coast decimating this $60m industry before any government acknowledged the problem; let's hope it doesn't take them so long to notice the other industries affected by climate change."

"Both the rock lobster and the $150m wild abalone industry relies on kelp forests off the North East and Central Tasmanian coast, but an invasive sea urchin is thriving in the warm waters and decimating this multi million dollar habitat."

"It's good that this research has been done, but the attention should also be on other agricultural sectors as well as the built and the natural environments affected by climate change."

"Other industries right across the state are experiencing similar hardships as a result of climate change. Tasmania, the Apple Isle, may need another brand if our warm winters persist as we do not have the chilling hours needed to set fruit; the magnificent leatherwood tree is climate sensitive and anything but normal temperature will affect our world renowned honey industry, not to mention the $180m of other industries reliant on pollination from the very same bees."

"I do nonetheless welcome Senator Wong's report as evidence the government is finally taking this issue seriously. I am pleased the report is providing adaptation strategies for those currently struggling with dwindling rock lobster stocks, and I look forward to discussing further adaptive measures encompassing all affected industries with Minister Wong."

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