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New Recovery Plan for 3 handfish species

A new national Recovery Plan for Three Handfish Species is now available on

The plan is for spotted handfish (Brachionichthys hirsutus), red handfish (Thymichthys politus) and Ziebell’s handfish (Brachiopsilus ziebelli) - all of which are found only in Tasmania, and are now either listed, or under consideration to be listed, as Endangered under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995

The plan considers the conservation requirements of the species across their ranges. It identifies the actions to be taken to ensure their long-term viability in nature, and the parties that will undertake those actions.

This recovery plan is a revision of the 2005 National Recovery Plan for Four Species of Handfish. The taxonomy of these handfish has changed. Ziebell’s handfish and Waterfall Bay handfish, treated in the 2005 Recovery Plan as two distinct species, are now formally recognised as a single species (Brachiopsilus ziebelli). The scientific name of the red handfish, previously Brachionichthys politus, is now Thymichthys politus.

The 2005 recovery plan and the 2013 expert review of the recovery plan are available from: The review noted that, despite limited availability of resources, there had been a sustained effort to implement some recovery actions for the spotted handfish in the Derwent Estuary and recovery plan objectives had been partially met for this species. However, it was noted that limited progress had been made on implementation of the recovery plan actions for red handfish and Ziebell’s handfish, with progress limited to resolving taxonomic uncertainties.
The plan identifies the following threats to the three species:
  • loss/degradation of habitat, particularly spawning substrate;
  • pollution and siltation of waterways from both diffuse and point-source activities;
  • traditional boat moorings;
  • the spread of invasive Northern Pacific seastars (Asterias amurensis); and
  • additional possible threats: fishing; direct predation; illegal collection for the aquarium trade; bioaccumulation of heavy metals; and climate change.
  • stochastic events and loss of genetic variations: all three species have small population sizes, highly fragmented distributions and low dispersal abilities.

The new ​recovery plan sets out the research and management actions necessary to stop the decline, and support the recovery, of handfish species in Australian waters. The overarching objectives of this recovery plan are to:
  • ensure an ecologically functional wild population of spotted handfish that, with limited site-specific management, has a high likelihood of persistence in nature, and
  • increase the understanding of the biology and ecology of spotted handfish, red handfish and Ziebell’s handfish in order to conserve, and contribute to the future recovery, of each species.

Latest Updates


​Swift parrot breeding activity 2022-23  Swift parrot sighting records this year show birds to be concentrated in the following areas...


​​​Welcome! Take a closer look... [more]


It is now the breeding season for both Wedge-tailed Eagles and White-bellied Sea-eagles​. It is important to stay well away from nests that are being used during this period (i.e. hundreds of metres away, out of sight and hearing of nesting eagles), in order not to impact on bre​eding succ​ess.​



​​Solutions to birds hitting windows: The American Bird Conservancy has put together some very comprehensive, well researched guidelines on window designs & retrofits to reduce risk of bird deaths...



​A new Recovery Plan is now available for Tasmania's three handfish species [more]


Link to fire map on The List - constantly being updated...



​New and updated flora listing statements and notesheets are now online... [more]


​Survey​s indicate that swift parrot breeding this season is concentrated around Rheban and Southport Lagoon/Ida Bay, and that food availability is particularly limited, resulting in unusual behaviour.​ [more]


Area Search glitch fixed [more]


Marking Threatened Species Day 2014 - a new tool on the Threatened Species Link to make finding out what's in your area a whole lot easier...​ [more]


Lots of events around Threatened Species Day.... [more]


​Training course in the identification and management of wedge-tailed eagle and white-bellied sea eagle habitat and nest sites...​ [more]


​Artists: here's some food for thought...​​​ [more]


Calling... conservationists, curators, biologists, artists, natural resource managers, writers, school teachers, musicians, environmental consultants and planners, film-makers and other lovers of Tasmania's plants and animals... [more]


New and updated flora listing statements and notesheets have been added​​... [more]


Temporarily missing links e.g. listing statements ​DPIPWE has launched a brand new website​ which is well worth exploring. However there are some temporarily missing links arising on the Threatened Species Link...​​​ [more]


Announcing the arrival of TasVeg 3.0​​​​​ [more]


Your comments please! The draft Threatened Tasmanian Orchids Recovery Plan 2013 is available for public comment until 14th February 2014. ​


Are you seeing swift parrots regularly this year? If so, the monitoring team would be very interested to hear of your observations.​​ [more]


​Swift parrot breeding areas this year include the Eastern Tiers, around Tooms Lake and Lake Leake, in areas between Buckland and Woodsdale, around Orford township, on North and South Bruny and around Devonport. Ongoing surveys may identify additional areas.​​ [more]


​This Saturday is National Threatened Species Day. Check out, share and discuss our list of Ten Things that we can all do to help reduce the risk of extinction for Tasmania's threatened species. ​​ [more]


Eagle nest activity checks: recommendation to hold off until November.​ It is now the breeding season for both wedge-tailed eagles and sea eagles. It's important to stay well away - hundreds of metres away, out of sight and hearing of an eagle on a nest - to avoid risks of impact on breeding success. For those needing to check whether a nest is occupied, the Forest Practices Authority now recommends only November checks. Earlier checks may result in mistakes.


Very much alive and kicking! After a decade of occasional single observations - enough only to know that the stunningly beautiful Miena jewel beetle wasn't extinct - zoologists have hit the jackpot.​ [more]


For extra help with plant identification - have you tried Greg Jordan & David Tng's online Key to Tasmanian Vascular Plants? A fantastic resource.​


Designing windows or fences near the east coast? Did you know about the guidelines for swift parrot-friendly building design? See Minimising the swift parrot​​ collision threat