'Spotted Handfish (Brachionichthys hirsutus)' by Helen Barnard

Proceeds from this painting will be donated to support the replenishment of seabed habitat for the Critically Endangered Spotted Handfish in the Derwent River estuary.


Once prevalent in the sheltered bays of the estuary, the Spotted Handfish experienced a severe decline in the 1980s. Now the species is listed nationally and internationally as Critically Endangered.


Spotted Handfish don’t move about much. They can swim, but they also ‘walk’ across the seabed in search of food. They need objects such as sea squirts to lay their egg masses on. But sea squirt habitat, and thus the eggs and larvae, are vulnerable to disturbance caused by siltation, pest species and infrastructure such as yacht moorings.


CSIRO, the University of Tasmania, the Tasmanian and Australian governments and the Derwent Estuary Program have been working together to conserve spotted handfish since the mid-1990s. More information is available from the National Environmental Science Program Marine Biodiversity Hub:


watercolour on paper. 39 x 43cm (framed)


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