Project number: 2023-087
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $7,290,431.00
Principal Investigator: Jeff Ross
Organisation: University of Tasmania
Project start/end date: 20 Dec 2023 - 22 Nov 2025


This project will address an urgent action identified under the updated Conservation Advice for the Maugean Skate to increase the levels of dissolved oxygen in Macquarie Harbour. Both modelling and empirical studies have demonstrated the role that salmonid aquaculture and river flows both play in influencing the dissolved oxygen status of the harbour (MHDOWG 2015; Ross & MacLeod 2017, Wild-Allen et al. 2020). A climate driven increase in bottom water temperatures of 1.5-2oC over the past 30 years in the harbour is also considered to have influenced the observed decline through decreased solubility and increased metabolic rates (Ross et al., 2021). The proposed project aims to help address this immediate priority to increase oxygen levels to support the conservation efforts for the skate and to offset the total oxygen drawdown of salmonid aquaculture in the harbour. The scientific evaluation program will assess the efficacy and environmental response to the oxygenation. This evaluation will be critical in assessing the feasibility and scalability of the system.


1. Develop plume model and run scenarios to inform injection depth, flow volume, concentration, and distribution of injection points for oxygenation trials.
2. Measure oxygen load, retention and spatial extent of oxygen improvement.
3. Monitor and evaluate the ecosystem response.
4. Determine scalability based on objectives 1-4 using CSIRO’s Macquarie Harbour Model
5. Provide advice on progress to all key stakeholders and how it relates to conservation planning and action for the Maugean skate.

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