The Communique released today by the National Recovery Team for the Maugean Skate is woefully inadequate and demonstrates the undue influence of the salmon industry, according to the Australia Institute Tasmania.
The Communique fails to mention the Australian Government Conservation Advice, released in September, which clearly identifies fish farming in Macquarie harbour as causing the main impact on the threatened Maugean skate.
The Conservation Advice says the highest priority action to protect the skate is to “eliminate or significantly reduce” the impacts of fish farming on dissolved oxygen. It says the fastest and simplest way to achieve this is to significantly reduce fish biomass. This is an urgent priority to be actioned before the summer of 2023/2024.
The Communique fails to address several issues:
- It does not include the Conservation Action Plan, which appears to be further delayed, despite the federal government’s advice that urgent action is needed.
- Neither does it include any plans to eliminate or significantly reduce fish biomass in accordance with federal government advice. This is despite fish farming being recognised as the number one threat to the skate.
- There is no mention of the Australian Government’s Conservation Advice released on 8 September that clearly identifies fish farming in Macquarie harbour as causing the main impact on the threatened Maugean skate.
- A pilot program to test the viability of injecting oxygen into the harbour will commence prior to December (subject to permits and licences)
- All 10 licences for fish farms are due to expire on 30 November 2023
“This Communique confirms the undue influence the salmon industry has on the Tasmanian Government. Instead of responding to the Australian Government’s conservation advice, it ignores the number one threat to the endangered Maugean skate: salmon farming,” said Eloise Carr, Director, the Australia Institute Tasmania.
“The salmon industry is deceiving Tasmanians – the science is clear. The federal government agrees with scientists that the science is clear. The federal government’s advice is to remove fish biomass before this summer, yet this is completely ignored by the National Recovery Team for the Maugean Skate.
“We are in for a hot summer, which makes this all the more urgent. The so-called ‘Road Map’ has to address salmon farming. That means not renewing the licences when they expire at the end of November.
“The salmon industry continues to mislead Tasmanians by exaggerating their own importance. Publicly available data shows they employ far fewer people than they claim, while damaging other, far bigger employers like tourism.”