Climate, sealife & other impacts

Range expansions/contractions have occurred in response to the increasing temperature of the oceans and the increasingly southern extent of the East Australian Current. Shifts in species ranges (e.g. sea urchins, King George whiting, tuna, jellyfish) can have positive and negative implications for commercial, recreational and charter fishing. For instance, the creation of urchin barrens by Centrostephanus rodgersii has negative effects on the commercial rock lobster fishery because the urchins have removed the habitat of the target species. In contrast, King George whiting is a popular recreational species and so the shift in the range of this species will benefit recreational and charter fisheries. See Redmap for further information on species range shifts.

Flooding events often disrupt oyster harvest in aquaculture farms temporarily due to the potential for high bacterial loads. This has negative effects for the economic viability of aquaculture businesses and associated transport companies, restaurants and other businesses and puts pressure on the domestic market.

Other potential sources of vulnerability in St Helens arise through:

  • Movement of younger working people away from the area to take up more lucrative jobs in mining or oil and gas
  • Lack of diverse sources of employment – if one industry goes bust, other sources of employment are required to retain the population
  • Ageing population and the subsequent need for services (particularly health services)
  • High value of the Australian dollar shifts tourism away from the area because international tourists cannot afford to visit and local tourists prefer to travel overseas
  • Management regulations on recreational fish species need to account for range-shifted species to ensure the new populations remain viable
  • Negative media regarding impacts of floods on infrastructure reduces tourist visitation.