Shark Savers Urges Further Protections for Sharks in Australia

Posted on June 28, 2012
Written by: Shark Savers
Tags: Shark Sanctuaries Campaign 

Shark Savers has sent a letter to Australia’s Marine Reserve Division thanking them for the recent decision to expand their Marine Reserves and urging them to expand the level of protections for sharks.

While the recently-expanded Marine Protection Network is a significant improvement, pelagic long-lines, gillnets and demersal long-lines will still be allowed in over 60% of the marine park designated as Multiple Use Zones, causing a potential risk to shark populations as bycatch.

Even in no-take zones, an Australian study found significant declines in reef shark populations compared to no-entry zones, suggesting that fishing is occurring even in well-monitored no-take zones.

Furthermore, commercial shipping and recreational boating is permitted in all zones, increasing the likelihood of collisions with whale sharks leading to injuries and death of these gentle giants.

Shark Savers recommends and urges Australia to work towards extending the percentage of Marine National Park Zones, regulating recreational boating and prohibiting pelagic long-lines, gillnets and demersal long-lines in all zones of the Marine Reverse network.

Sharks have existed in our oceans since before the dinosaurs, yet currently, at least 30% of the species assessed by scientists for the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) are threatened or near-threatened with extinction. Sharks grow slowly, mature late and produce few young making them vulnerable to overexploitation. With up to 73 million sharks worldwide killed every year, most recent shark fishing is not sustainable. Since sharks are apex predators, their depletion also risks changes in our ocean food webs thereby potentially impacting conventional fisheries.

Click to download letter