Turning the Tide Newsletter – Spring 2023
The Tasmanian endemic Maugean skate is Australia’s most endangered ray and is facing extinction within 10 years.
Rarely seen, these skates with their dappled exterior are elusive and well camouflaged in dark estuarine waters.
Australia’s environment laws are being rewritten for the first time in over 20 years. This is a critical opportunity to ensure nature is protected and restored, by replacing the existing outdated laws with stronger laws to improve monitoring and enforcement, and remove loopholes that allow for the ongoing destruction of nature.
Described as Australia’s ‘dinosaur in a bathtub’, the Maugean skate has ancient lineage from around the time of Tyrannosaurus Rex and is found only in a small enclosed pocket of water, Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania.
These living dinosaurs are facing imminent extinction because intensive salmon farming, and altered flows from rivers that support hydroelectricity production, are depleting oxygen in the harbour and effectively choking the skate to death.
AMCS is urging the Federal and Tasmanian Governments to work together to urgently protect the Maugean skate. A Maugean skate Recovery Team has been convened to bring key stakeholders together to help save the Maugean skate from extinction. As the environmental representative on the Recovery Team, we will keep you posted on this important issue.
Facts & Figures
COMMON NAME: Maugean skate, Port Davey skate
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Zearaja maugeana
FAMILY: Rajidae, Rajiformes, Chondrichthyes, Chordata, Animalia
BODY SIZE: Medium-sized skate 85-86 cm
DIET: Crabs, carid shrimp and mysids
LOCATION: Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania
CONSERVATION STATUS: Endangered
POPULATION TREND: Decline