Macquarie Harbour salmon farming environmental licences will be renewed for two years, but the under-fire industry is not safe yet. Federal Shadow Fisheries Minister Jonno Duniam said Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek had taken the next stop on the "road to ruin" for West Coast jobs and investment by "officially making a decision to begin consultation on an EPBC Act decision made under the Gillard Government over a decade ago to allow salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour". The industry has come under heightened pressure amid fears for the survival of the endangered Maugean skate, which only lives in the harbour. Ms Plibersek said the consultation was required because of applications under national environment laws by three groups arguing salmon farming was having an unacceptable impact on the skate. She said the laws requiring the consultation were passed by the Liberals in 2000. Ms Plibersek said the consultation would be broad. "It will mean workers and their union, the salmon industry, communities, environment groups, scientists, as well as state and local governments, will have a chance to have their say," she said. She said it would be an opportunity to consider various matters, including any decision by the state Environment Protection Agency about the extension of salmon farming licences. The EPA announced the environmental licence extension after Ms Plibersek announced the consultation. It said interim "default guideline values" would be used "as a measure of success for maintaining and improving water quality in Macquarie Harbour by restoring dissolved oxygen levels to sustain a viable level of ecosystem health and support the recovery of the Maugean skate". The salmon industry argues there are various factors and possible factors contributing to the skate's precarious position. The industry, Tasmanian politicians and the West Coast Council have expressed concern about the threat to jobs and particularly to Strahan's economy if the industry is forced to vacate the harbour or pause production there. West Coast Mayor Shane Pitt said the federal announcement was "a real kick in the guts to the West Coast community". "Further salmon biomass reductions will put 25 per cent of jobs in Strahan at risk, dislocate families from their communities, cause a rapid decline in house prices and likely lead to local medical and education services becoming unviable," Cr Pitt said. "For example, over half of the students at Strahan Primary School have parents working in the aquaculture industry." Acting Premier Michael Ferguson said the federal government was "abandoning Tasmania's sustainable, job-rich salmon industry, giving its strongest indication yet that it intends on shutting down the industry on the West Coast, cutting 500-plus jobs". " ... why should we expect anything else from the Labor Party. both in Canberra and in Tasmania, who have form when it comes to sacrificing Tasmanian jobs in search of green preferences in inner city seats around the country?" State Labor's Shadow Primary Industries Minister, Janie Finlay, said it was a vital industry for the state and Tasmanian Labor strongly supported it. "Tasmanian Labor Senator Anne Urquhart is doing important work in advocating for the industry and we commit to continuing to work with her to support these vital regional jobs," Ms Finlay said. "It's important we demonstrate support for the industry as political leaders and not resort to silly, unproductive, political name calling like some on the other side of politics have done."