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Celebrating the achievements of landcarers

04/12/2017

The Tamar Island Wetland Cares Volunteer Group has been recognised in the 2017 Landcare Tasmania Awards.More

Horsetail Falls walk now open

15/11/2017

Visitors to the West Coast are in for some spectacular views on the new Horsetail Falls walk near Queenstown.More

Bruny Island Neck lookout re-opens

10/11/2017

The walkways and lookout at the Bruny Island Neck will re-open to the public today, following the completion of a new, larger car park that will provide improved access to the popular lookout.More

Summary of Small North-East Islands Management Plan July 2002

The full version of Small North-East Islands Management Plan July 2002 can be downloaded as a PDF File (862 Kb)

Many of Tasmania’s small offshore islands in the north-east region are significant breeding sanctuaries for a diversity of seabird species. Because of their isolation and, in some cases, the absence of mammals, many may also harbour unique or endemic species of flora and fauna that are undergoing evolutionary radiation. Pressures on small islands world-wide, such as fisheries interaction, marine and terrestrial pollution and disturbance to breeding birds and their habitats, contribute to the importance and urgency of conserving these increasingly rare and endangered global natural assets. Small, isolated, discrete ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to damage and destruction caused by the introduction of feral plant and animal species, fire or direct human disturbance (Salm et. al 2000).

With Coastcare funding and the cooperation of the Marine and Coastal Community Network, the Department of Primary Industries and Water Nature Conservation Branch, Marine Resources Division and Parks and Wildlife Service and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, management plans for Tasmania’s significant small offshore islands are being developed.

This Small North-East Islands Draft Management Plan details information and management aims and prescriptions to ensure the long-term viability of the following islands as significant seabird breeding sites:

  • Little Waterhouse Island
  • Baynes Island
  • Little Swan Island
  • Bird Rock
  • George Rocks Nature Reserve
  • St. Helens Island (part of St. Helens Point Conservation Area)
  • Paddys Island
  • Diamond Island Nature Reserve
  • Governor Island Nature Reserve
  • Little Christmas Island

Other significant small islands off the north-east coast of Tasmania – The Nuggets, Refuge Island, Taillefer Rocks and Schouten Island – are encompassed by the Freycinet National Park, Wye River Reserve Management Plan 2000 (see Appendix 2). Picnic Island of the north-west of Freycinet Peninsula is private property.

Natural Values

Tasmania’s north-east islands are important for their diversity of seabird species (Little Waterhouse Island, Baynes Island, Little Swan Island, St. Helens Island, Paddys Island and Governor Island) and for their abundance of particular species (Little Waterhouse Island, Baynes Island, Little Swan Island, George Rocks, St. Helens Island, Paddys Island, Diamond Island, Governor Island and Little Christmas Island). With its mild maritime climate, the region is an important Tasmanian breeding stronghold for the Australian pelican, Caspian tern and white-fronted tern – all relatively uncommon species in Tasmania. Fairy terns, listed as rare under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995, were recorded breeding on Baynes Island in the 1998/99 season. The section below “North-east islands’ breeding seabirds – global perspective” provides information on the distribution and abundance of the seabirds recorded on the north-east islands. Many also provide “baseline” information about soils, animals and vegetation, which have evolved relatively free from human interference . As such, they are potentially important sources of information for geologists, zoologists and botanists.

Management Issues

Most seabird species, because of their adaptation to remote areas, are susceptible to human disturbance, which includes direct human contact with the birds and their habitat, disruption to offshore foraging areas and noise from nearby activities. When surface-nesting birds are directly disturbed or constantly disrupted by noise or activity, they will desert nests and nesting sites, in some instances, never returning. Their breeding success can be interrupted for years. Burrow-nesting birds are put at risk by trampling of their burrows and disturbance to vegetation. Breeding seabirds generally forage closer to the shore where, particularly if diving, they can be susceptible to entanglement in set nets. Nearby recreational activities such as diving, jet ski-ing and motor boat use may have an adverse impact through the generation of noise. The challenge is the management of visitor access while protecting the islands’ significant natural values.

Cultural Values

Four islands have evidence of Aboriginal use in the form of either small artefact scatters or shell middens. Whaling stations were located on two of the islands.

Management Issues

As several of the islands have never been surveyed, it is possible that more comprehensive research could reveal signs of Aboriginal use. Sites of Aboriginal and historic heritage need to be protected.

Educational Issues

The draft management plan highlights the need for greater education about the values of offshore islands. It recommends that the feasibility of developing Diamond Island as an educational, ecotourism model be explored.

Management Initiatives

The draft management plan recommends the involvement of community groups and industry in an island care network and the development and promotion of minimal impact codes of conduct for visiting sensitive islands. The sea kayaking community has led the way with its code, which can be viewed at www.coastview.com.au. It is hoped that greater community involvement in managing these special remote places will help to ensure their long-term protection.

While acknowledging that some islands can support low levels of visitation, many island visits will require permits as a mechanism to gauge and monitor visitor levels and to ensure that potential visitors understand and respect the islands’ values.