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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Threatened species list just got a whole lot longer

Dozens of plants and animals have been added to Australia's long list of threatened species, with 14 catapulting into the critically endangered category.

The third edition of the noble crayfish is reintroduced to rivers in the Lublin and Podlasie regions at the bridge over Wlodawka river in Suchawa, Poland. Image EPA

Freshwater crayfish, frogs with pockets, and native gum trees are among dozens of species added to Australia's long list of threatened native treasures.

The federal government announced 48 new or upgraded listings on the eve of Threatened Species Day, adding to the 1700 species and ecological communities known to be threatened and at risk of extinction.

The new listings include 16 species of native spiny crayfish that are found nowhere else in the world, and in many cases are confined to single river catchments in NSW and Queensland.

Seven of them went from being unlisted straight into the critically endangered category.

That's also true for NSW's Wollumbin hip-pocket frog, a species that sees protective dads carry their tadpoles around in pouches on their legs.

Many of the species were affected by the Black Summer bushfires.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek says the listings will afford the imperilled plants and animals greater protection under existing federal laws, which are currently being rewritten after a review found they were ineffective, outdated and incapable of producing good environmental outcomes.

The minister, who has promised to prevent any new extinctions, has also released recovery plans for other critically endangered species, including the maugean skate.

The skate is an ancient fish species that's now found only in Tasmania's Macquarie Harbour and experts have recently warned it could be one extreme weather event away from vanishing forever.

She's promised an initial $2.1 million in federal funds to help the species.

Some of the cash will be spent on a captive breeding program to create an insurance population if it can't be saved in its wild home, which is impacted by salmon farming and the generation of hydro electricity.

A new conservation advice is now in place for the species, with fewer than 1000 thought to be left.

It provides new analysis of the current threats, such as poor water quality, and outlines what needs to be done to bring the fish back from the brink.

"We know the key threats remain poor water quality in Macquarie Harbour from aquaculture and hydro operations," Ms Plibersek says.

"Our government is committed to doing what we can to assist, and we urge the salmon industry and Tasmanian government to take the action needed to clean up, Macquarie Harbour so the maugean skate can survive for another 100 million years."


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