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Tasmanian salmon sector to use nano bubbles to save endangered skate

Fish stocks Atlantic Salmon Technology & equipment +5 more

Tasmania’s salmon farming sector is taking part in a $7 million trial that will involve using novel nano bubble technology to try to ease the plight of an endangered species of skate.

Tasmania supports a thriving salmon farming sector

However, there is also vocal opposition to the sector, which has been linked with environmental degradation

Starting next month, a diesel-powered generator on board a barge will be used to draw up low-oxygen water, fill it with highly concentrated bubbles of oxygen, and pump it back into the harbour at 30 to 40 metres depth.

A $7 million two-year trial has been jointly funded by Salmon Tasmania and the Australia’s Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).


The trial aims to reverse the decline of the Maugean skate, which is in decline due to factors including the depletion of oxygen levels in Macquarie Harbour - a trend that has been blamed on the use of the harbour for farming salmon.

The announcement of the trial came the same week that Australia's Threatened Species Commissioner, Fiona Fraser, stated that Macquarie Harbour had been degraded "largely due to salmonid aquaculture".

Commonwealth conservation advice highlighted that the "fastest and simplest" way to improve oxygen levels was to reduce the numbers of salmon in the harbour’s farms.

However, Salmon Tasmania hopes the nano bubbles - which will be delivered to a depth of 30-40 m from a barge - could help to reverse the skate’s decline.

The Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania will design the nano bubble system and oversee the trial.

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