The Australia Institute will join a growing number of state and national organisations, independent scientists and Tasmanians, demanding an immediate halt to salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour.
The Maugean skate is teetering on the brink of extinction according to scientists from the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), who this week took the extraordinary step to release research mid-project. The scientists have called for urgent and immediate action to save the species.
The Maugean skate is listed as Endangered under Tasmania’s Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 and the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. A significant portion of Macquarie Harbour is within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and the skate is one of the values of the World Heritage Area.
- Aquaculture in Macquarie Harbour produces organic waste that increases oxygen demand and reduces dissolved oxygen that skates need to survive. As organic waste increases so does the risk to the skate.
- Recent studies indicate that the Maugean skate population is now solely confined to Macquarie Harbour and its population is estimated to have nearly halved since 2017.
- The Australia Institute is calling for immediate de-stocking of salmon farms in Macquarie Harbour and fallowing of leases until the habitat has recovered and the skate are no longer threatened with extinction.
- Despite the species being listed as endangered in both Tasmanian and national legislation, no threat abatement, recovery or conservation action plan exists for this species.
“The Australia Institute stands alongside the growing number of Tasmanians who want an end to unsustainable aquaculture in this state. Our research shows more than 7 in 10 Tasmanians want salmon farms out of shallow, sensitive inshore waters. This is not a noisy minority, this is a significant majority,” said Eloise Carr, Director, Australia Institute Tasmania.
“The latest information from IMAS scientists tells us the Maugean skate is teetering on the brink of extinction. We are here to support the scientist and their research finding and call for immediate action to prevent the extinction of this species.”
“Difficult decisions need to be made. The Tasmanian salmon industry will go down in history for being linked to the extinction of a species if business as usual continues.”
“Both levels of government and regulators have let Tasmanians down. Despite this species being listed as endangered in both state and national legislation, no threat abatement, recovery plan or conservation action plan exists for this species. This is simply not good enough.”