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Actor Leonardo DiCaprio backs calls to end salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour

Pulse Tasmania
Leonardo DiCaprio is backing the Maugean Skate. Image / Stock

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has joined the fight to save a critically endangered Tasmanian species of skate.

The movie star says the Maugean Skate has been “pushed to the edge of extinction” by salmon farms in Macquarie Harbour on the state’s west coast, joining the Bob Brown Foundation in the fight.

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Salmon farming has been labelled as having a “catastrophic impact” on the skate’s survival, according to new data from the federal threatened species scientific committee.

“It is completely unacceptable that the Tasmanian and Australian governments are willing to cause a world-first extinction of the Maugean Skate to protect the profits of huge, industrial companies,” Alistair Allan from the Bob Brown Foundation said.

Maugean skate vulnerable to Macquarie Harbour environmental conditions, say IMAS. Image / Supplied

“This is a matter of global significance, now getting the attention it deserves.”

The group have thanked Leonardo DiCaprio and his charity Re:wild for telling the story of Tasmania’s Maugean Skate to “millions of people”.

Signage for the Maugean Skate at Macquarie Harbour in Strahan. Image / Pulse

“Wherever salmon farms are around the world, they cause huge environmental damage, but these farms in Macquarie Harbour are the only ones that will wipe an animal off the face of the planet forever. They must be removed immediately”

In May, Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said she was carefully considering more than 2,500 submissions made in relation to future salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour in order to make a “proper, legally robust decision”.

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Salmon Tasmania CEO Luke Martin said there is “no scientific evidence” that demonstrates removing aquaculture from Macquarie Harbour will ensure the future of the Maugean skate in its endemic habitat.

Martin says there is “absolutely no legal justification” for the Australian Government to reverse its 2012 decision on allowing salmon farming in the harbour.

Salmon farms in Macquarie Harbour. Image / File

“Tasmania’s salmon industry is highly regulated, informed by some of the best marine scientists in the world, and uses the most advanced technology available,” Mr Martin said.

He urged Minister Plibersek to proceed with a “rapid decision” on the review to “end the uncertainty for the workers, families, businesses and communities of North-West Tasmania”.

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