3,444kg of Centro removed from 7,500 meters of coastline around Babel Island
The Babel Island (All sized commercial harvest trial of Longspined Sea Urchin) was completed earlier this year by the Tasmanian Commercial Dive Association (TCDA).
The Babel island all sized commercial harvest of the Long spined sea urchin was designed to achieve a number of objectives including removing of Centrostephanus from the Babel Island group, testing the feasibility of a mother boat fishery in regards to the storage and quality of urchin held on the vessel and importantly, utilising the urchin for commercial use. The Babel team was made up of 2 dinghys with 4 divers and 2 deckhands on board the mother boat Motonui.
The project was completed by two dive teams, which covered a significant portion of Babel Cat and Stonehouse Islands. 3,444kg of Centrostephanus rodgersii were removed from around 7,500 meters of coastline over 40 hours of diving.
The urchin were delivered to a processor for quality analysis and use where appropriate in order to provide storage information details for the live storage of Centro urchin. IMAS and PhD students also analysed the catch for storage information and biological parameters. Initial analysis shows a large size frequency of the data meaning that there were very few small urchins found which is something all of the divers had noted anecdotally.
The project has achieved a number of things including removal of Centro from babel group of Islands, size, depth, distribution and density analysis of Centro on the Babel group as well as information on the storage of sea urchin on multi-day fishing trips that can be used to improve/evolve techniques.