Researchers issue dire warning on Tasmanian maugean skate

maugean skate on the ocean floor

Researchers from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) said a single extreme weather event could be enough to push the species some call the “Tasmanian tiger of the sea” to the brink of extinction.

The maugean skate (Zearaja maugeana) is a species of ray endemic to Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s west coast, and has a Gondwanan lineage that dates back to the Cretaceous more than 66 million years ago.

The endangered skate’s population almost halved between 2014 and 2021, and there’s no sign the drivers of the decline have eased, according to a report published today by researchers at the University of Tasmania’s IMAS. The researchers are recommending a raft of measures including a captive breeding program be implemented in order to avoid extinction.

Learn more about the report and the potential fate of this unique Tasmanian species here.