Greens MP Cate Faehrmann and environment spokesperson says the NSW Government’s refusal to allow a motion to extend the pipi harvesting moratorium to proceed, is seriously bad news for this iconic species and could mean the end of pipis found on NSW beaches.
“The 6 month pipi moratorium was a welcome reprieve, but now that’s set to be trashed with commercial harvesting opened up again from this Friday, June 1st.
“Meanwhile, the Shooters & Fishers Party, who say they are looking out for recreational fishers, also helped block the motion. Without this moratorium fishers will never be able to collect pipis on NSW beaches again, they’ll simply be wiped out.
“It is a matter of extreme urgency that this moratorium is extended in time and in scope, because stocks of this shellfish, which are an integral part of the food chains on our surf beaches, cannot have recovered to a level that will ensure sustainable populations of pipis can continue to exist into the long term.
“When the moratorium was imposed in December 2011 after a campaign from the Greens, stocks of the pipi had collapsed.
“Less than 6 months would not be adequate time for a new population of pipis to be established. The pipi requires a minimum of 10 months to reach about 3.7cm – which is under the minimum catch size of 4cm. They also need this time to reach sexual maturity and become capable of spawning. It’s obvious a 6 month moratorium is grossly inadequate for the population to recover sufficiently to ensure continuation of the generations.
“The government must extend the moratorium or risk losing the pipi forever,” said Ms Faehrmann.
In December 2011 the NSW government announced a 6 month ban on commercial pipi harvesting after the Greens letter writing campaign and an unprecedented alliance with recreational fishers. That ban is soon to expire and pipis need your help to have it extended.
Anecdotal evidence suggests pipi populations are far from recovered and that it would be premature to end the moratorium. Dr Lee Andersen from Ballina Coastcare, Ballina Shire Greens councillor Jeff Johnson and expert fisherman John Clarke recently surveyed South Ballina Beach and didnt find a single pipi.
I have written to the Minister to recommend the moratorium remain in place until there is firm quantitative evidence that pipi populations have achieved a sustained recovery and until long term enforceable management arrangements are in place to ensure harvesting is conducted at sustainable levels.
Please contact the Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson at email@example.com
You might like to include the following points:
Thank her for the moratorium placed on commercial pipi harvesting in December 2011
Six months has not been sufficient time to allow pipi populations to recover
Please extend the moratorium until there is firm evidence pipi populations have recovered and are at secure levels that can sustain an ecologically sustainable harvest
Greens MP and environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann says today’s announcement from the Minister for Primary Industries regarding a seasonal closure of commercial pipi harvesting will be welcomed by conservationists and fishers alike.
“Recreational fishers and environmentalists are united on this issue – we need better protection for the species before it is completely wiped out,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“Threatened species such as the pied oyster catcher depend on the pipi, one of its main food sources, for survival.
“When visiting the North Coast recently I met with recreational fishers who told me about the rapid decline of pipis due to over harvesting in recent years.
“I congratulate recreational fishers and local environmentalists who have been working for this outcome and encourage the government to extend the ban in line with the best available science.
“Yes there are other factors at play, but without a ban on commercial harvesting the species will never recover,” said Ms Faehrmann.
It is a major worry when a species that is a foundation block in the marine food chain is in trouble. That’s why we can’t afford to ignore the NSW pipi crisis. Pipis are molluscs found in the surf zone of beaches from southern Queensland southwards to Eyre Peninsula in SA. Their populations are crashing with unsustainable harvesting thought largely to blame. Of the 22 beaches with pipi harvesting in NSW, 16 have had their pipi populations wiped out completely. An unwitting casualty of the decline in pipi populations is the threatened Pied Oyster Catcher which relies on the pipi for food.
In response to the crisis the NSW Government enacted a restriction on commercial take of pipis in the Estuary General Fishery limiting licence holders to 40kg hand gathered. In Queensland and Victoria commercial pipi harvesting is prohibited. Recreational fishers and conservationists believe an urgent and complete ban on commercial harvesting of pipis is needed in NSW.
Please help by filling out the form below to send a letter to the Minister requesting an urgent ban on commercial harvesting of pipis.
*UPDATE* The Minister has announced a 6 month ban on commercial harvesting. Read more here.
Here is Cate’s letter to the Minister along with the reply.