Centro Cull – Munro Bight 2019 “Southern Front”
The presence of Centrostephanus in Tasmanian waters is a result of warming waters along the East Coast and represents a range extension for this species from mainland Australia. The urchin has had devastating impacts on reefs due to overgrazing which created expansive urchin barrens along once prolific abalone producing sites.
The FV Suicidal Dream departed Hobart on Friday 25th October 2019 with 2 dinghies on board, 4 diver and 2 deckhands. The aim was to complete 16 hours of centro culling per dive team over the 4 day trip, along the southern and northern faces of the Munro Bight (Block 22a) between Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy.
GPS Vessel Location Data and Dive Depth loggers were utilised to record spatial and temporal data for each dive profile. The number of urchins culled was recorded by each diver using a clicker counter.
Key observations from the dive team:
• Divers observed a substantial increase in Centro population in Munro Bight compared with that observed in the same area only 12 months ago.
• Divers observed a “healthy” degree of recruitment of abalone populations within and around incipient Centro barrens.
• Divers noted almost zero population of lobster, abalone or scale fish within the larger extensive Centro barrens.
Check out this short video from the trip: