Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Leader
“Minister for the Environment Roger Jaensch confirmed today his government appears willing to monitor a species to extinction in the wild, rather than follow the clear scientific evidence and take genuine action to save the Maugean skate.
“The Maugean skate, now critically endangered because of salmon farming, is Tasmania’s largest endemic fish and lives only in Macquarie Harbour. The Maugean skate survives on the floor of Macquarie Harbour, waters that are now seriously compromised due to the low oxygen levels caused by excessive fish waste nitrogen.
“The science is abundantly clear on how to fix this problem, remove the salmon farming problem – not the native species from the wild.
“The Tasmanian Greens call for aquaculture in Macquarie Harbour to be removed and a local on-land industry investigated. This is the only chance to ensure the water quality in the harbour can recover and the skate can survive. The government’s proposal for a $2.4 million facility to breed skate in captivity should also be located in Strahan, co-located with on-land aquaculture infrastructure. This will contribute to local jobs and demonstrates a genuine commitment to the future of the skate.
“Minister Jaensch’s pitiful response to this environmental crisis has been an attempt to catch a few skate, put them into tanks, and hope they breed. Given the desperate situation for the skate, unless there is action to remove the key threat – salmon farming – from their wild environment, this species will be confined to a ‘skate zoo’ Tasmania will have another extinction black mark on our name.
“Financial investment in the future of the skate is welcome and needs to be spent wisely. Spending taxpayer dollars to monitor the wild population to extinction, and rely instead on establishing a zoo for the remnant population, is not conservation.”