Tassal and Huon Aquaculture seek community views

Jane Ryan – Community Engagement Advisor with Huon Aquaculture has invited everyone interested to a consultation session 12 September 2017,  6 – 8:30pm at the Alonnah Community Hall.

Contact Jane Ryan, Community Engagement Advisor, Huon Aquaculture mobile 0468 632 044  and email jryan@huonaqua.com.au

Luke Kapitany for Tassal, is seeking volunteers to participate in Community Advisory Groups across the regions that they operate including Bruny Island. They seek representatives from Environment, Education, Community, tourism and local Business groups as well as Council delegates as a community representative voice.

Contact Luke Kapitany – Community Engagement Officer TASSAL GROUP LIMITED – mobile 0408 149 768 and email luke.kapitany@tassal.com.au

The key changes being carried out by these companies is expansion into Storm Bay (see our previous article on this).

Cat Management survey results

Responses from many (22 of 28) cat owners on Bruny Island confirmed the current approach in supporting owners to desex, microchip and contain their beloved moggies. Interestingly, the bulk of owners were already doing at least some of these things, but 4 households said they would not contain their animals.

Backyard playpen for cats.

 

These results align closely with research conducted elsewhere showing cat owners are critical to success in reducing the impact of cats on wildlife and that they need costs of participation reduced, and plenty of support to help them make the changes for their cats.  The full report is available here and makes interesting reading.

Of the 22 households surveyed, 19 own 1 or 2 cats, one has three cats and two households had more than 3 cats.  These 2 households reported that this was due to having undesexed cats and to their feeding of strays.

Despite most households have desexed (96%) and microchipped (86% ) cats , about a quarter of all cats were not desexed or microchipped due to the large number of cats in one household.

Providing financial subsidies was identified most frequently by respondents to encourage desexing and micro-chipping. This was followed by offering these services on the island.

Key recommendations arising from the survey were to:

  • continue individual one-on-one cat owner engagement to identify and address individual barriers and motivators;
  • enhance the established programs particularly to build cat owner capability and motivation, specifically:

1.  extend the advisory and design/building assistance to all individual households (with cats) requiring assistance.
2.  develop and distribute a cat containment guide. The guide will include containment options; environmental enrichment for a cat’s physical and emotional needs; addressing stressors in individual cats; and training principles to support transition.
3.  document and photograph new cat containment stories (& where appropriate video).
4.  print and distribute (to individual households on Bruny) additional stickers (developed by students on Bruny).
5. purchase 4 GPS cat trackers for use with the program.

  • continue to promote the By-law engagement program so that ideally all Bruny cat owners are engaged. Door-knock Bruny households (over summer) to discuss the By-laws and broader cat management on the island and ultimately engage more cat owners. Consideration will then be given to undertake a mail-out to all Bruny households and rate payers.

 

 

Cat control Annual Report

Bruny Island was selected under the Australian Government Threatened Species Strategy – 2015/2016 as one of five Australian islands to progress feral cat eradication, in recognition of the potential threat that feral cats pose to the significant biodiversity values on Bruny Island.

A huge thank you to all those partner organisations and individuals that are making this project a reality: Kingborough Council, Invasive Species Branch and Parks and Wildlife, UTas School of Zoology, Ten Lives Cat Centre, Birdlife Tasmania, Bruny Island Environment Network, Bruny Island Community Association, Tasmanian Land Conservancy and private landowners.

It aims to provide the foundations to assess and manage the impacts of cats at the Neck and North Bruny to inform both the long-term control of cat impacts across the island and the feasibility of feral cat eradication.

It is proving to be a very exciting adventure, offering excellent learning and a model and tools for other Councils and cat management programs across the state.

Workshops and consultation with community members and key experts in 2016 provided the basis for a cost benefit analysis of different options and found significant knowledge gaps about the differences in feral cat activity across the island and the impact of cats on native species and agriculture. Control of feral cats at the Neck seabird colony came out as best environmental benefit (both locally and for North Bruny) and value for money during the initial three years of the project. Importantly it also identified that responsible pet cat ownership is critical to reduce the source of un-wanted and stray cats. A special thank you goes to all the participants in these workshops, especially community members.

The current foci of the project is on developing robust baseline data and monitoring systems to assess the impact of feral cat control on threatened and priority native species; achieving community adoption of responsible pet cat ownership; and an assessment of the feasibility and cost of feral cat eradication from Bruny.

Brett Woodruff came on board as the Field Officer for the Bruny Project in March. His role is to monitor and control the feral cat population around the Neck and North Bruny. Brett is a great asset to the project with extensive experience detecting, monitoring and controlling invasive species throughout Tasmania, mainland Australia and New Zealand.

A comprehensive monitoring program has commenced at the Neck and North Bruny to try to quantify the impact of cat control at the Neck and adjacent areas on priority seabirds and small mammals, and to determine the distribution and density of feral cats on North Bruny. By tracking the movement of feral cats, the project is also assessing if intensive management at the Neck can play a key role in limiting the dispersal of feral cats to North Bruny. Additional research funds are being sought to collect data that will help assess the feasibility of feral cat eradication from the entire Island. Research includes identifying cat activity across South Bruny, determining interactions between cat, quoll and rabbit distribution and the prevalence of cat borne disease (cats, native fauna and sheep) across the island.

Kaylene Allen – Project Officer

Storm Bay fish farm expansion

Huon Aquaculture announced an intended extension of their salmon farming lease off Trumpeter Bay. This is in addition to both of the other large aquaculture players – Tassal and Petuna, seeking similar leases.

A recent meeting between Yachting Australia and Tasmanian Salmonoid Growers Association noted:

“The salmonoid industry wishes to expand and the Huon/Channel area has reached its allowable nitrogen cap while Macquarie Harbour has a similar issue that has received publicity in recent months.

“In moving to Storm Bay, the industry claim they are looking to move to deeper water in ‘offshore’ locations. “The industry saw this meeting as being part of their ‘community consultation’ however there was no discussion invited as to appropriateness of the expansion or locations suggested.

“Subsequent to the meeting the Marine Farming Branch at DPIPWE have provided the RYCT with a chart (depth in fathoms) showing both the current and proposed lease areas in Storm Bay. (DPIPWE advise that as of 17th Nov 2016 the companies are still to make formal applications so the proposed lease areas may be subject to change).”