The Tasmanian salmon industry will extend what is believed to be one of the largest private industry contributions to a wildlife conservation initiative ever in Tasmania to secure the future of the Maugean Skate.
Salmon Tasmania CEO, Luke Martin, announced today the three Tasmanian salmon producers have recently written to the Australian and Tasmanian Governments committing a further $750,000 industry investment over three-years to support the joint Government’s Maugean Skate Conservation Plan.
This is in addition to the $500,000 already invested by the industry into Macquarie Harbour and Maugean Skate research in recent years.
The industry hopes its future investment will be further leveraged through the industry’s co-funding research agreements with the Australian Government, bringing further funds to the project.
Mr Martin said the Salmon industry is urging other Tasmanian industries with a long-term presence in Macquarie Harbour to make similar financial commitments to secure the future of the unique species.
“Salmon has been farmed in Macquarie Harbour for over 30-years and the industry is directly responsible for 17 per cent of all jobs on the West Coast.
“The salmon farmers who live and work around Macquarie Harbour care deeply about the marine environment and are determined to secure the future of the skate.”
“The industry first wrote to the Australian Government two years ago urging action on the skate, and we continue to work with the science community and all levels of government around the immediate priorities to secure the species and improve the Macquarie Harbour ecosystem.
‘It is fair to say the salmon industry has done the heavy lifting and will continue to take a lead role in supporting research to understand why the Skate population has declined, firstly in Bathurst Harbour, and now Macquarie Harbour.
‘But its important other industries and stakeholders with a long-term presence in the harbour are also invested in the solutions.
“The scientists and stakeholders sitting in the room understand there are a complex range of factors influencing the Macquarie Harbour environment, and potentially the skate population. It is plain wrong and threatens the survival of the skate, to focus myopically on one factor, or one industry.
“Salmon production in Macquarie Harbour has more than halved over the past five years. Yet we know this has not led to any material improvement in the dissolved oxygen levels in the harbour that is so critical to the skate and other wildlife.
“It is also now well widely accepted the species has most likely disappeared from Bathurst Harbour, where there is no industry whatsoever.
‘Clearly, there are range of factors at play that need to be carefully considered with further research and population monitoring.
“The priority right now is to secure the future of this unique wildlife, and we believe everyone with a presence in the harbour has a responsibility here.
Mr Martin said it was the industry’s strongly held view the conservation of the species required a concerted, long-term strategy involving all levels of government, the science community, and all industry stakeholders with a presence in the harbour including Hydro, TasWater, the mining industry and recreational and commercial fishers.
‘The salmon industry will continue to lead the way, and has committed to invest additional resources to help initiate the priorities of the conservation plan.
“Our expectation is the other industry sectors with a similar long-term interest in the wellbeing of Macquarie Harbour will also commit financial and in-kind support to ensure all stakeholders are working collaboratively and are invested in securing the future of the skate.
‘The salmon industry is proud of its contribution to the West Coast as a major industry and employer in the region and the investment we are making the future of such a unique feature of its local wildlife.
Friday, 11 August 2023
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