Waterway Programs

The waterway comprising the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and lower Huon estuary is one of the most beautiful waterways in the world.  The waters sheltered from oceanic swell have an area of 446 km2, a coastline of about 405 km, and a depth of up to 55 m.  Flows within the channel are governed by upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich Antarctic waters which typically flow in from the south, mix with catchment outflows (dominated by the Huon River), and exit to the northern end of the waterway and into the Derwent Estuary.  The normal flushing period for the waterway is estimated at 26 days, although this can be as little as eight days under certain conditions.

The waterway is prized for beauty, fishing, boating and other recreational and commercial opportunities.  Population growth along the coastline reflects proximity within an hour’s drove of Hobart (Tasmania’s state capital) and employment opportunities of tourism, shellfish production, and fishing, including Tasmania’s biggest finfish farm companies: Huon Aquaculture and Tassal.

Balancing the environmental and economic returns of such a highly valued resource is an ongoing exercise for the local community.  While this dialogue has peaked and troughed over the decades, there is a consistent undercurrent of value for the waterway.  This is why the Collaboration exists: to facilitate a focus on the common concern of maintaining a healthy waterway that can meet our social demands for a beautiful environmental and a viable local economy.