On the eve of World Threatened Species Day, the Wilderness Society today called on Tasmanian Environment Minister Matthew Groom to clarify his Government’s policy to reverse reserves in critical, Giant Freshwater Lobster’s habitat identified in a national Recovery Plan for protection.

Last month, Minister Groom jointly signed a Recovery Plan for the lobster with Federal Minister Josh Frydenberg under national environment laws, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. This plan includes an agreed action to ‘increase the total area of giant freshwater crayfish habitat that is reserved’.

This is inconsistent with his government’s policy to remove reservation for 356,000 hectares of high conservation value forest across the state, including in the catchments named as critical lobster habitat.

‘The Lobster Recovery Plan and its agreed action to increase reserves in key habitat areas was a welcome dose of common sense, underpinned by science,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society. ‘But this runs counter the Hodgman Government’s plan to reduce the amount of forests reserved in identified river catchments, in an attempt to introduce logging.’

‘As we again recognise the tragic day the last known thylacine died 81 years ago, Minister Groom needs to clarify how his government can reconcile a policy position that is directly counter to an agreed plan to save another species from extinction.

The Wilderness Society has written to Minister Groom, highlighting the policy and recovery plan inconsistency and the fact his intent is to reduce, not increase the level of reservation in identified catchments that are known, core habitat for the lobster.

‘Minister Groom’s policy is to undo the reservation of 37,000 hectares of important lobster habitat in the takayna/Tarkine and surrounding forests, identified for reservation in the Recovery Plan.

‘Mr Groom want’s these forests logged not reserved, but the Recovery Plan identifies logging as one of the most significant threats to the survival of the species.

‘Logging protected forests in catchments recommended for formal reservation simply doesn’t stack up and Minister Groom needs to clarify if he is going to implement the Recovery Plan or bulldoze on with a discredited logging policy that will have a significant negative impact on the survival of another iconic Tasmanian species.’

Download TWS letter to Groom ...