Marine Plant Fishery

​​​​​​​​​​​​Overview 

Marine plants include kelp, seaweed, seagrasses, and algae which are food and habitat for other marine species. To protect Tasmanian marine ecosystems, no marine plants may be harvested directly from the water, except in the Undaria fishery. 

Tasmanian seaweeds are processed to extract bio-compounds like alginates and fucoidans used in pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals and are used for fertiliser and mulch. Fresh Undaria is sold as edible Japanese wakame, and some kelps are used for crafts and other boutique businesses.​


Bull kelp 

Managing the fishery 

The fishery is managed under the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995 and Fisheries (Marine Plant) Rules 2017​. It is supported by the Marine Plant Fishery Policy which includes fishing zone maps and a kelp harvester's guide to Tasmanian coastal birds found at harvest locations. 

Marine plant harvesting is controlled by limited licences, and ecological risks are co-managed with land authorities like the Parks and Wildlife Service and Crown Lands.

Further information for the beach-cast fishery is available in the 2023-24 Operational Guide for the Marine Plant Fishery (Beach-Cast) only.

Further information for the Undaria-dive fishery is available in the 2023-24 Operational Guide for the Commercial Dive, Shellfish and Undaria Fisheries.

Commercial licences

Commercial beach-cast harvest: Licensed harvesters hand-collect seaweed that has been cast onshore by wind and wave action, particularly after storm events. Bull kelp (Durvillaea potatorum) is the main species harvested, primarily from King Island, Marrawah, and Granville Harbour.

There are two access areas where no further licences may be granted - King Island and Granville Harbour. The North-West region is limited to eight licences at any one time. These arrangements help manage natural coastal and biodiversity values.

Commercial diving for Undaria - Undaria pinnatifida is a declared noxious p​est/weed​ under the Biosecurity Act 2019, which means it can only be handled by authorised persons to mitigate the risk of spreading. Licensed commercial divers hand collect Undaria from East Coast waters under the authority of a fishing licence and the Undaria Group Permit issued by Biosecurity Tasmania. The Group Permit automatically applies to any holder of an Undaria fishing licence.

Anyone wishing to apply ​for a marine plant fishing licence is encouraged to contact the Wild Fisheries Branch. Permission for advice regarding accessible areas and obtaining permission from landholder/s to access nominated beaches.


    Contact

    Commercial Marine Plant Management
    Level 3, 134 Macquarie Street
    Hobart TAS 7000
    Phone: 0457 124 668
    Email: commercial.fisheries@nre.tas.gov.au

    Hotline

    Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

    0427 655 557

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    Contact us

    Recreational Fishing

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    Hobart TAS 7000

    Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647

    Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au

    Commercial Fisheries

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    GPO Box 44

    Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

    Email: commercial.fisheries@nre.tas.gov.au

    Commercial Fisheries Licensing

    Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

    GPO Box 44

    Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

    Email: fishing.licensing@nre.tas.gov.au