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MEDIA RELEASE: Roadmap has merit, but still won't Save the Skate

The Maugean Skate Recovery Team has released their Roadmap of Agreed Actions. While the roadmap includes many positive actions such as co-design with the local community and Aboriginal community, there still lacks any mention of urgently destocking Macquarie Harbour of salmon.

The Maugean Skate remains on a knife edge after decades of intensive salmon production caused oxygen levels in Macquarie Harbour to plummet, resulting in a 40% drop in the Maugean skate population between 2014 and 2021. Two adult Maugean skates have died in the captive breeding program, and the oxygen bubbling trial to increase oxygen levels in Macquarie Harbour, is still at very early stages.

The federal Threatened Species Scientific Committee’s conservation advice called for an urgent reduction in salmonid activity in Macquarie Harbour before the end of summer 2023/24, as the ‘fastest and simplest’ way to save the skate. This advice has not been included in the roadmap.

The conservation advice was clear, the fastest and simplest way to save the Maugean skate is to reduce salmon biomass immediately, before the end of the summer 2023/24, which is now.” says Rebecca Howarth, Marine Campaigner for Environment Tasmania.

The roadmap is lacking any mention of destocking salmon from Macquarie Harbour and this is extremely worrying. There are merits to the plan, and it is a good step forward. But without destocking Macquarie Harbour of salmon, we will be relegating the skate to nothing more than history books, like the Thylacine.”

If action doesn’t happen fast, Tasmania will be known for its infamous extinctions, not for its clean, green brand.”

Tania Plibersek has pledged no extinctions on her watch. Let’s hope she can keep that promise and makes the right decision, when reviewing the 2012 decision to expand salmon in Macquarie Harbour, and orders a removal of all salmon.”

Media contact: Rebecca Howarth

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