Plibersek ignores conservation advice on Maugean skate


Minister Plibersek has ignored her own department’s conservation advice and is failing to show the strong political leadership necessary to help prevent the Maugean skate from going extinct.

New conservation advice states that for the Maugean skate to be afforded the best possible chance of survival impacts of salmonid aquaculture on dissolved oxygen concentrations in Macquarie Harbour must be “eliminated or significantly reduced”. The advice explicitly states that the fastest and simplest way to achieve this is by “significantly reducing fish biomass”.

Yet, on the eve of Threatened Species Day, Minister Plibsek made the underwhelming decision to ignore this advice, and instead opted for a $2.1 million funding announcement focused on creating a Maugean skate insurance population if it can't be saved in its wild home.

Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson for healthy oceans, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson: 

“Minister Plibersek’s decision to ignore her own department’s conservation advice tells you everything you need to know about how captured the Labor party is by the big salmon corporations that are trashing Tasmania’s magnificent waterways. 

“What’s the point of having a Threatened Species Scientific Committee and establishing a Maugean Skate National Recovery Team to help save the species, if you then disregard its key findings? 

“Minister Plibersek has the power to act and to save the Maugean skate from extinction and she needs to pull every lever available to her to make this a reality, yet her decisions so far have been completely underwhelming. 

“Clearly Minister Plibersek is failing to show the strong political leadership necessary to protect the skate, making the survival of this ancient species a political decision. 

“The Minister’s failure to heed her own department’s advice also raises significant questions as to whether Labor is serious about its Zero Extinction pledge.”