Facing Government Inaction, Environmental Groups Act to Stop Extinction of Ancient Tasmanian Skate

March 21, 2024

Over 56,000 people are demanding supermarket giants Woolsorths, Coles and ALDI stop selling salmon farmed in Macquarie Harbour, the last remaining home of Australia’s endangered Maugean skate

March 21, 2024, Sydney – Today, campaigners with the corporate accountability group Ekō and environmentalists with Neighbors of Fish Farming (NOFF) staged demonstrations in front of the supermarket giants Woolworths, Coles and ALDI, urging them to stop stocking salmon from Macquarie Harbour in order to prevent the extinction of the endangered Maugean Skate.

Nish Humphreys, a senior campaigner at Ekō, said, “Massive industrial salmon farms in Macquarie Harbour are polluting the water and leading a 60-million-year-old species that is unique to Australia to the brink of extinction. This harbour on the west coast of Tasmania is this ancient creature’s very last remaining home, and we must not allow corporate greed to destroy it.” 

She continued, “I am here today to represent the voices of tens of thousands of people who are urging Australian supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles, as well as the German supermarket giant ALDI, to stop buying salmon from Macquarie Harbour. These supermarkets have just posted record profits, and they can certainly afford to stop profiting from the destruction of a magnificent and critically endangered animal. The Maugean Skate is both an Australian treasure and part of our global natural heritage.”

Over 56,000 Ekō members have signed a petition demanding supermarkets stop selling fish from Macquarie Harbour.

Jessica Coughlan, an environmental campaigner with Neighbors of Fish Farming, said, “Getting salmon farms out of Macquarie Harbor is the only way to give the Maugean Skate a chance to survive and thrive. The salmon industry has tried to convince the public that there are other solutions, like breeding the skate in captivity – but we know this breeding program is not working. Supermarkets could take immediate action to save the skate before it’s too late.”

She continued, “While Australia’s Minister for the Environmental Tanya Plibersek has said that there would be no extinctions under her watch, she has yet to use the federal environmental law at her disposal to stop the salmon industry from destroying the Maugean Skate’s only home. Faced with government inaction, it’s important to keep up public pressure on all institutions and companies that are complicit in this harm – that’s why we are here.” 

Skate numbers have collapsed with the substantial increase in salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour, with fewer than 1,000 now left.