National Threatened Species Day: New Steps to save the Maugean Skate

07 September 2023

The Albanese Labor Government is investing over $2.1 million to set up a captive breeding program to help save the Maugean Skate.

The captive breeding program will help create an insurance population. 

Sadly, it's estimated that there are fewer than 1,000 Maugean Skates living in Tasmania’s Macquarie Harbour, the only place in the world where it still exists. Numbers of the Maugean Skate are disappearing due to low oxygen levels and poor water quality. 

While the Maugean Skate is currently listed as endangered, it is being reassessed. The Government has also received an updated Conservation Advice to guide the Skate’s protection and recovery under national environmental law. 

The Conservation Advice provides new analysis of the current threats, such as poor water quality and outlines immediate and longer-term actions to help the Maugean Skate recover.

It also considers how to boost community awareness to help reduce threats like accidental capture in fishing nets.

We will work sensibly with the Tasmanian Government and the salmon industry to get a good outcome.

The Maugean Skate is one of 110 species prioritised for recovery under the Government’s Threatened Species Action Plan.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and Water, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP:  

“The Maugean Skate has been in trouble for many years now and the population in Bathurst Harbour is already lost. We have to act fast to bring it back from the brink of extinction. We need better protection and funding for urgent conservation – and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

“We know the key threats remain poor water quality in Macquarie Harbour from aquaculture, hydro operations and climate change. Our Government is committed to doing what we can to assist, and we urge the salmon industry and Tasmanian Government to take the action needed to clean up Macquarie Harbour so the Maugean Skate can survive for another 100 million years. We will cooperate wherever possible to get the best results, including continuing work through the Maugean Skate Recovery Team. 

“The Albanese Labor Government is committed to protecting our precious plants and animals and leaving nature better off for our kids and grandkids.”