Sign the Open Letter to Woolworths & Coles to Save the Skate

This open letter is for groups, NGOs, foundations, investment managers, BUSINESSES, and more!

If you’re an individual that would like to Save the Skate - take action here!

We've created social media materials for spreading the word -find them here!

Groups, NGOs, foundations, investment managers, and businesses can wield enormous influence. We can mobilise large numbers of supporters, investors, customers, and employees. We can also own shares in Woolworths and Coles. Together with individual supporters, we can be a powerful coalition to push Woolworths and Coles to Save the Skate from extinction.

Below you can find the open letter to Woolworths and Coles calling on them to Save the Skate. Use the sign up form to add your entity’s name to the open letter.

To: Woolworths Group and Coles Group,

You can help save one of Australia’s oldest animals or to condemn it to extinction.

The endangered Maugean Skate is a living ancient wonder. It survives only in Macquarie Harbour in the west of Tasmania.[1] Salmon farming in this harbour has expanded rapidly.[2] Pollution from these farms is reducing the water’s oxygen levels and suffocating the skate.[3] However, salmon from these farms is still being sold by Woolworths and Coles.

We are a coalition of organisations, foundations, and businesses that want to Save the Skate. We represent hundreds of thousands of Australian consumers, and thousands of current and potential shareholders in Woolworths and Coles.

We are calling on Woolworths and Coles to do your due diligence and stop procuring salmon and ocean trout from Macquarie Harbour.

Coles states in their Sustainability Report that “it is important for Coles… that the Tasmanian salmon industry operates in an environmentally, socially and economically responsible manner”.[4] Woolworths says they are “committed to improving the sustainability of seafood” in their supply chains.[5]

We applaud these seafood sustainability commitments.

We are aware that as part of these commitments, Coles requires farmed seafood to be certified under one of three certifications - Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Best Aquaculture Practices Farm Standard (BAP) or the GLOBALG.A.P (GGN).[4] Woolworths has also stated that they “preferentially source” from these certifications.[5]

However, ASC states that none of the 11 salmon farming sites in Macquarie Harbour complies with their standards.[6] Moreover, BAP and GGN are facing calls from more than 80 global conservation groups to decertify Macquarie Harbour salmon.[7]

There is a lack of consensus and confidence in certifications for Macquarie Harbour salmon.

Hence, Woolworths and Coles must stop relying on these certifications, live up to their seafood sustainability commitments, and do their own due diligence.

Due diligence means companies taking responsibility for finding and addressing human rights and environmental problems in their supply chains. There is a growing global expectation that companies do this. For example, the OECD has published their Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct.[8] In Europe, there is a movement towards mandatory due diligence.[9] This shift is a recognition that many certifications have failed to prevent harms to human rights and the environment.[10][11][12][13]

The need for due diligence is clear.

Macquarie Harbour salmon, a product within your supply chain and sold in your stores, is associated with an extinction emergency. Research from the University of Tasmania found that the skate population has plummeted by almost half.[14] Advice from the Commonwealth’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee says the reduced water quality due to salmon farming is a “very high risk” that is “almost certain to impact the Maugean skate throughout the entire harbour” with “catastrophic” outcomes.[15] It advises to “eliminate or significantly reduce the impacts of salmonid aquaculture on dissolved oxygen concentrations” with the “fastest and simplest way” being the removal of salmon farming.

Now the Commonwealth’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee is reviewing whether to uplist the Maugean Skate from Endangered to Critically Endangered.[16]

Woolworths and Coles are the Tasmanian salmon industry’s biggest customers.[17] Which salmon farms you source from shapes the industry and where those farms are located.

The science is clear. The lack of consensus and confidence in the certifications is clear. To meet your seafood sustainability commitments, Woolworths and Coles must do your due diligence and stop procuring salmon and ocean trout from Macquarie Harbour.

This issue is urgent. The fate of the Maugean Skate hangs in the balance.

We request that you respond to these actions quickly. Until then, we will continue to grow the movement of organisations, foundations, and businesses calling on you to Save the Skate.


[1] Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Macquarie Harbour last refuge for Maugean Skate, DNA survey finds, September 2022,,-dna-survey-finds

[2] BC News, How salmon farming pushed Macquarie Harbour to the limit, June 2017,

[3] University of Tasmania, Under pressure: scientists call for urgent conservation action to save Maugean skate, May 2023

[4] Coles Group, 2023 Sustainability Report, 2023,

[5] Woolworths Group, Seafood Sourcing Policy, Februrary 2022,

[6] Aquaculture Stewardship Council, ASC response to the  Review of Eco-labelling Standards in Relation to Salmon Farming in Macquarie Harbour,  a report commissioned by WWF Australia, September 2021,

[7] Seafood Source, NGOs push BAP, GlobalGAP to drop certification of fish farms in Tasmania, July 2023,

[8] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct, May 2018,

[9] European Parliament, Corporate due diligence rules agreed to safeguard human rights and environment, December 2023,

[10] Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law, Due diligence in global value chains: Conceptualizing ‘adverse environmental impact’, June 2021

[11] Greenpeace International, Destruction: Certified, May 2021,

[12] Katrina Nakamura, Is tuna ecolabeling causing fishers more harm than good?, December 2023,

[13] The Outlaw Ocean Project, China: The Superpower of Seafood, December 2023,

[14] Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Interim report - Macquarie Harbour Maugean skate population status and monitoring, May 2023,*89aty0*_gcl_au*NzY1NjAxMTAuMTcwNjIyMzk4MQ

[15] Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Water, Conservation Advice for Zearaja maugeana (Maugean skate), September 2023,

[16] Threatened Species Scientific Committee, Finalised Priority Assessment List, October 2023,

[17] Mitchell Perry, Derek Baker and Garry Griffith, Environmental Issues in the Tasmanian Salmon Supply Chain, and Commercial Response, 2021,

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