Today's announcement by Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek that the future of fish farming in Macquarie Harbour needs to be reviewed is a start, but this acknowledgment will be meaningless if the Minister doesn’t also act immediately to protect the Maugean skate.
Lines attributable to Greens spokesperson for healthy oceans, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson:
"Consultation on protecting the Maugean skate should’ve happened years ago but successive federal governments have refused to step in and protect the species.
"Science has identified Macquarie Harbour as naturally low in dissolved oxygen, made worse by industrial salmon farming.
"We now have a critical moral and political decision to make - is it more important to prevent the avoidable extinction of a species or protect the profits of foreign owned salmon companies?
"The Maugean skate is only found in one place on earth, how sad is it that we are looking at removing the ancient skate from its only known home to allow the farming of an introduced species - Atlantic Salmon. The skate belongs in Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s west coast, and Atlantic Salmon belong in the Atlantic.
"While consultation is great it won’t protect the skate this summer. Scientists tell us the Maugean skate is one extreme weather event away from extinction and given predictions for marine heatwaves this summer I urge Minister Plibersek to follow her own departments scientific advice and remove introduced Atlantic salmon from the skates natural environment."