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
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.
Managing the fishery
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.
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 pest species, which means it can only be handled under authorisation to mitigate the risk of spreading. Licensed commercial divers hand collect
Undaria from East Coast waters under the authority of a fishing licence (introduced marine plant).
Anyone wishing to
apply for a fishing licence (marine plant) is encouraged to contact the Wild Fisheries Branch. Permission from the landholder/s to access nominated beaches must also be obtained.