The state’s peak environment group has called on Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to go further than the independent review of a Queensland shark fishery and reassess NSW quotas for shark fishing.
“The Nature Conservation Council urges the Federal Government to discontinue current policies and ban shark fishing in NSW until research shows it can be sustainable. If this can be proven, we support quotas be set using the precautionary principle and that a ban on landing IUCN-listed shark species remained,” Ben Birt, Marine Conservation Officer of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, said today.
“The NSW catch of Whaler sharks alone has increased from 165 to 440 tonnes over the past year due to the international demand for shark fin.
“Unsustainable numbers of sharks, including vulnerable and threatened species, are still being caught and their fins exported to overseas markets.
“Sharks are susceptible to overfishing because they typically grow slowly, mature late and produce few young. The loss of sharks from the top of the food chain would create major imbalances in marine ecosystems.
“The NSW Department of Primary Industries has already acknowledged that current levels of shark fishing are too high and that immediate action should be taken to reduce the risk to the species.
“The Federal Government has the opportunity to take the lead and stop the overfishing of these iconic marine species,” Mr Birt said.