Tasmania is responsible for the first fish extinction in modern times - as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declares the Smooth Handfish officially extinct.
In early June, Jessica Meeuwig, a professor at the University of Western Australia and director of the university’s Centre for Marine Futures, told international media that the smooth handfish likely disappeared due to habitat loss and destructive fishing practices like scallop trawling, and that the species’ extinction is “indicative of broader problems in how we continue to manage our oceans.”
Laura Kelly, Strategy Director at Environment Tasmania, said the extinction of such an iconic Tasmanian marine species was a wake-up call for Tasmanians.
"While it might be comfortable to think past destructive fishing practices caused this handfish extinction, scientists raising alarm bells about the threats the latest industrial salmon farm expansion poses to handfish species in Storm Bay have been bullied and ignored," Ms Kelly says. "If the Tasmanian Government refuses to respect the science and protect Tasmania's iconic marine life, more extinctions will follow."
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