Shark Finning maybe legal in Australia’s Great Barrier

Shark finning where the fins are cut of the shark and the carcass is thrown overboard is currently banned in Australia. However, shark fin fishing, where sharks are targeted for their high value fins but their carcasses are kept and sold as low value waste products, continues. Will this help eradicate or stem the demand for shark fins or is this just a poor disguise to fan the demand?

The Australian Marine Conservation Society, AMCS reports that during 2000-2004 shark fishing in Queensland increased four-fold with a massive 1240 tonnes of shark being landed in 2004*. The main pressure on sharks in the Great Barrier Reef is fishing, and this pressure is increasing. More than 90% of the commercial shark harvest is taken by the gillnet fishery with the remainder taken by the line and trawl fisheries. However recreational fishers catch and retain a significant number of sharks. Sharks biologically like whales and dolphins. are extremely vulnerable to fishing impacts, for they are slow growing, have extremely low reproductive rates and are mostly long lived. Thus they are very slow to recover from impacts on their populations. Many shark fisheries around the world have collapsed.  Sharks are apex predators, helping to control populations of prey species. Consequently, reducing the number of sharks may have significant and unpredictable impacts on the ecosystem.

How does such a proposal arise in an environment and eco-conscious state is very disappointing. It is a stark reminder to the environment conscious that we must remain vigilant; for amidst us remain the unscrupulous and powerful villains who give scant regard to things sacred, waiting for the moment to pursue their pecuniary goals. OG Society invites the world at large to support the call to the Queensland Government to revoke this proposal and commit to a program with fishers to preserve sharks. We strongly encourage anyone who have a passion for sharks to have their say.

Read more on this issue at www.marineconservation.org.au.

Better still write your objections to:

East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery RIS Response Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries GPO Box 46 Brisbane QLD 4001

Fax: 07 3229 8146  Online: www.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb

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