Federal Environment Minister must act quickly to prevent Maugean skate extinction

NOFF welcomes positive news that the Federal Environment minister is taking the potential extinction of the Maugean skate in Macquarie Harbour seriously. But NOFF urges Tanya Plibersek to act quickly and not to order a drawn-out reëxamination of the science that already clearly indicates the Atlantic salmon industry is the main driver of the threat to the 60-million-year-old animal.

The Minister has written to Premier, Jeremy Rockliff, warning industry operations may have to be stopped to prevent the extinction.

"The science and the physical evidence is already clear that the waterway's health has been in decline since the salmon industry established its feedlots and it just became worse as production ramped up," says Jess Coughlan, campaigner for NOFF. "If the minister wants to live up to the promise of "no extinctions" on her watch then a decision to remove the feedlots must be made quickly."

Ms Coughlan points out IMAS scientists have warned the skate could be wiped out by one extreme event and a feared marine heatwave in Tasmania this summer could be that event.

She says neither the captive breeding proposal for the skate nor the industry's proposed engineering solutions to pump oxygen into the waterway had been trialled or evidence produced that it would make a real impact on the survival of the skate or the health of the harbour.

"The industry's suggestion of an engineering solution is self-serving and will likely enable its salmon to grow fatter more quickly while doing little to improve the oxygen levels in the harbour. NOFF encourages the minister to stay the course and stand up to the foreign-owned industry's aggressive warnings that it will not give up "a single fish or a single job" to save the skate."

Media release: Immediate

More information:
  • Jess Coughlan: 0431 684 741 noff7112@gmail.com
  • Peter George: 0426 150 369 president@noff.au