Federal Environment Minister must act immediately to stop Maugean skate extinction

Scientists, community groups and NGOs have sent an open letter to federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, urging immediate action to save the Maugean skate from extinction.

The Mageaun skate is an ancient fish found only in the waters of Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of Tasmania. A recent emergency report released by the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Science sounded the alarm over the parlous situation of the Maugean skate, warning that the animal was on the brink of extinction. This week in Senate Estimates in Canberra, the Maugean skate’s situation was described as “dire”.

“The letter points out that one of the first and most obvious steps is for fish farms to be completely removed from Macquarie Harbour,” said Alistair Allan, Antarctic and Marine campaigner at Bob Brown Foundation.

“It has been made very clear by Canberra over the last few days that fish farms are playing a big role in the Maugean skate’s demise. There is no question that they must be removed.”

“Minister Plibersek has called for extreme intervention to save the skate. The new Labor government promised no new extinctions but already the Maugean skate is teetering on the edge.”

“The threatened species commissioner, Dr Fiona Fraser, said that she will be recommending that the Maugean skate be uplisted from endangered to critically endangered. We urge the Environment Minister to act upon that immediately.”

“Premier Rockliff is also firmly on the hook for this as well. The Tasmanian Government must do everything in its power to save this unique Tasmanian animal. Like it or not, that means removing fish farms.”

Read the open letter here

Photo: Jane Ruckert

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