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Minister Ley must commit to a recovery plan as Maugean Skate risks extinction

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 8 Oct 2020

A study released today by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies reveals a decline in numbers of endemic Tasmanian species the Maugean Skate due to worsening environmental conditions linked to human activities. This raises the alarm on its listing status and lack of conservation plan.

Tasmanian Senator Whish-Wilson, Greens spokesperson for Healthy Oceans, today calls on Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley for a federally funded species recovery plan in light of this new information.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, "News of this already rare species' decline and worsening conditions in the Macquarie Harbour is incredibly concerning.

"It is struggling for survival in just one known place that it lives in the world, the west coast of Tasmania.

"For years now, the Greens have repeatedly raised concerns with the federal Environment Minister and department that human activities such as industrial fish farming are putting this species at increased risk, but our pleas have been ignored.

"In 2015, the Greens initiated a Senate inquiry into the impacts of salmon farming on the Tasmanian community and environment, and it was clear as daylight back then that the Maugean Skate needed urgent help.

"It's now been listed as endangered for 16 years. This is a failure on our watch and there is no plan for its recovery.

"At the time of its listing in 2004, the conservation advice was to protect its last remaining habitat and that a recovery plan was of high priority. This has clearly been ignored.

"The status of the Maugean Skate has also never been reviewed.

"It points to a fundamental failure of the listing process through the EPBC.

"We recently saw the world's first known marine fish extinction here in Tasmania, the smooth handfish. There is no more time to delay if we are to avoid another extinction and I'll be raising this directly with the federal Environment Minister as a matter of urgency."

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