The Australia Institute, Tasmanian First Nations representatives, and local, national, and international conservation organisations have urged UNESCO to request the Australian Government to urgently undertake a comprehensive environmental assessment and report on the impact of salmon farming on the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA). This is because the Maugean skate (Dipturus maugeanus) in Macquarie Harbour is threatened with extinction, and the conservation of this species is a key value for which the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area was inscribed. 

This appeal to UNESCO was prompted by a review of the Australian federal government decision that allowed large-scale fish farming in Macquarie Harbour more than ten years ago. The Australia Institute, Bob Brown Foundation, Australian Marine Conservation Society, and Humane Society International Australia requested such a review, but despite the consultation ended two months ago, no outcome has been delivered yet. 

Rebecca Howarth, Marine Campaigner, Environment Tasmania, said: “The Tasmanian government has failed to intervene adequately to save the endangered Maugean skate, and a federal review into the 2012 decision to expand salmon drags on with no decision in sight. It is high time the international community and World Heritage Committee are informed that there is a significant threat to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and that the endangered Maugean skate faces imminent extinction without serious intervention.”

Jess Coughlan, Campaigner, Neighbours of Fish Farms, said: “The World Heritage Committee needs to be made aware that the Federal government is failing its international obligation to prevent the destruction of an animal that has survived since the dinosaurs. The appalling fact is that the profits of the multinational salmon companies are being placed above that of Tasmania’s unique heritage.”

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.