Action alert in Australia: Restore fishing restrictions for grey nurse sharks

Posted on June 16, 2011
Written by: Shark Savers

grey-nurse-shark-omalley.jpgGrey nurse sharks are critically endangered in Australia and need your help: especially if you are Australian. The government has revoked new restrictions to protect the grey nurse sharks from accidental fishing.

You can help restore these fishing restrictions by providing your comments during the public comment period.

Protected in Australia since 1984, grey nurse sharks were declared ‘critically endangered’ in September 2008 by the NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee based on further scientific evidence of their decline.

Despite being protected, grey nurse sharks continue to be killed or harmed by accidental fishing and shark nets. In 2010, a study by Drs Will Robbins & Vic Peddemors of the Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre of Excellence determined that recreational fishing methods (i.e. baited lines and jigging) were of ‘high risk’ to grey nurse sharks in the area of Fish Rock, South West Rocks, a NSW Critical habitat where year-round aggregations of grey nurse sharks occur. 

This study resulted in improved fishing restrictions in January 2010 to prevent the accidental harming and killing of the grey nurse sharks. Then, a new government came in and revoked these new restrictions in April 2011. The government has now called for a public consultation period for comment on fishing restrictions at Fish Rock on the NSW coast.

Downloads:

Download restrictions January 28, 2010
Download the notice to revoke April 29, 2011
Download the announcement for public comment May 31, 2011
Download GNS-Public-Consultation-Discussion-Paper.pdf

Submit your response here before August 26, 2011.

Our friend, Mike Neumann, has prepared an article on this issue that is a must read. Mike notes that "other sites are rather well protected, but in South West Rocks, the closest community on the coast, there is a strong fishing lobby that has convinced the Minister to repeal the recent protection at those iconic dive sites. At the same time, the Department is looking at unifying and streamlining the rules governing all the known aggregation sites of the GNS (which Mike lists in his article)"

Mike also makes good suggestions as to what to include in your comments to the government, so please review his post before you submit your comments. See Mike Neumann's blog story here.

We'd also like to thank Hayley Gorsuch at the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre in Queensland for bringing this to our attention and sending along the documents.

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