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Sustainable Timber Tasmania and Parks and Wildlife Service announce road opening


Florentine Road and Arve Road (to the Hartz Mountain junction) are officially reopened to the public.More

Easter safety is paramount for our parks and reserves


The Parks and Wildlife Service encourages visitors and Tasmanians alike to get outdoors and get active - especially in our parks and reserves.More

Good news, Hartz Mountain National Park and other tracks are open!


In time for Easter walking, PWS have been able to re-open a number of tracks.More

Summary of Small South-East Islands Management Plan July 2002

The full version of Small South-East Islands Draft Management Plan 2002 can be downloaded as a PDF File (392 Kb)

Constituent maps are available as separate PDF files:

  • Appendix 1 - Location of Small South-East Islands (272 Kb)
  • Appendix 1 - Maps of Small South-East Islands (1200 Kb)

Many of Tasmania’s small offshore islands in the south-east region are significant breeding sanctuaries for a diversity of seabird species. Because of their isolation and, in some cases, the absence of mammals, many may also harbour unique or endemic species of flora and fauna that are undergoing evolutionary radiation. Pressures on small islands world-wide, such as fisheries interaction, marine and terrestrial pollution and disturbance to breeding birds and their habitats, highlight the importance and urgency of conserving these global natural assets. Small, isolated, discrete ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to damage and destruction caused by the introduction of feral plant and animal species, fire or direct human disturbance (Salm et. al 2000).

This Small South-East Islands Draft Management Plan details information and management aims and prescriptions to ensure that the following significant small islands are managed appropriately for the protection of their natural and cultural values:

  • Lachlan Island
  • Wedge Island
  • Sloping Island State Reserve
  • Hog Island State Reserve
  • Isle of Caves
  • Spectacle Island Public Reserve
  • Little Spectacle Island
  • Betsey Island Nature Reserve
  • Little Betsey Island Nature Reserve
  • Iron Pot
  • Dart Island

Other significant small islands in south-east Tasmania are Ile des Phoques south of Schouten Island and Ile du Nord off the north coast of Maria Island which are encompassed by the Maria Island National Park and Ile des Phoques Nature Reserve Management Plan 1998 and Visscher Island, Hippolyte Rocks, The Lanterns, The Thumbs and Tasman Island which are encompassed by the Tasman National Park Management Plan 2001. Barren Island Nature Reserve and Woody Island Nature Reserve are encompassed by the Pittwater and Orielton Lagoon Ramsar Site Management Plan 2001, currently in draft form (see Appendix 2).

Natural Values

Tasmania’s small south-east islands have important natural values, particularly as sanctuaries for 13 species of seabirds. Many can also provide baseline information about soils, fauna and flora, which have evolved relatively free from human interference. Some harbour representative samples of vegetation that have been destroyed or substantially modified on adjacent mainland Tasmanian areas.

Management Issues

Because of their proximity to major population centres on mainland Tasmania, many of the small south-east islands are visited during the summer, increasing the risk of feral plant and animal introduction and direct disturbance to nesting birds. When surface-nesting birds are directly disturbed or constantly disrupted by noise or activity, they will desert nests and nesting sites, in some instances, never returning. Their breeding success and productivity can be interrupted for years. Burrow-nesting birds are put at risk by trampling and destruction of their burrows. Breeding seabirds generally forage closer to the shore where, particularly if diving, they can be susceptible to entanglement and drowning in set nets. Because small islands are important sources of ecological information, a greater emphasis needs to be placed on producing and maintaining geoconservation, flora and fauna inventories.

Cultural Values

Four of the south-east islands have known Aboriginal sites of significance and it is possible that others are similarly significant. The two larger islands, Sloping and Betsey, played an important role in the bay whaling industry of the area between the early 1820s and 1940s and have a long history of agricultural use. Dart Island and Iron Pot were important as strategic navigational sites.

Management Issues

Existing known cultural sites require protection. The cultural values of the islands should be further investigated.

Educational Issues

Some of the islands have the potential to play a role in facilitating understanding of the importance of offshore islands. Some could possibly sustain a degree of tourist activity.

Management Initiatives

This draft management plan recommends the involvement of community groups and industry in an island care network and the development and promotion of minimal impact codes of conduct for visiting sensitive islands. The sea kayaking community has led the way with its code, which can be viewed at www.coastview.com.au. It is hoped that greater community involvement in managing these special remote places will help to ensure their long-term protection.

Until more is known about the level and kind of visitation small offshore islands can sustain, it is prudent to adopt the precautionary approach and discourage visitation if there is any doubt that it may adversely impact on the natural and/or cultural values of the islands. To gain information about island visitor numbers, length of stay and reasons for visits and to ensure that potential visitors understand and respect the islands’ values, a system to monitor access and visitation rates will be put in place.