Océans en santé. Communautés en santé

Living Oceans leads global call to stop greenwashing extinction of prehistoric skate 

July 31, 2023

Living Oceans Society and our SeaChoice allies have been holding seafood eco-certifications, such as the Marine and Aquaculture Stewardship Councils, to account for over 20 years. Our expertise in this field has resulted in us leading global collaborations with other conservation organisations to call out the greenwashing in this industry and demand certifications live up to their promises. 

Most recently, Living Oceans helped rally over 80 organisations from around the world calling on the Best Aquaculture Practices and GlobalG.A.P. schemes to immediately revoke their ‘sustainability’ certifications from salmon and ocean trout farms adjacent to the World Heritage Area, Macquarie Harbour, on the west coast of Tasmania.  

The harbour is the last remaining home of the endangered Maugean Skate – an ancient relic from the time of the dinosaurs. Unfortunately, sharing its home with salmon farms has placed the skate on the brink of extinction.  

Scientists from the University of Tasmania’s Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies recently reported a dramatic collapse in Maugean skate numbers with almost half disappearing in less than seven years. The scientists attribute the skate’s decline to the degraded environmental conditions in the Harbour, particularly dissolved oxygen levels, and explicitly named fish farms as one of the main causes of low dissolved oxygen levels in Macquarie Harbour. 

Shockingly, despite the scientific evidence, these salmon farms are certified as “environmentally responsible” by BAP and GlobalG.A.P.; and are sold to unsuspecting shoppers as ‘sustainable’. In reality, these certifications are greenwashing the extinction of this prehistoric species. Read the BAP and GlobalG.A.P. letters to learn more.  

Sound familiar? Eco-certification claims are also common on B.C. farmed salmon with wild salmon paying the price. See our recent op-ed, The truth about “responsibly farmed” salmon.   

Maugean Skate photo credit: Neville Barrett