The Nature Conservation Council of NSW has condemned new NSW Fisheries Minister Katrina
Hodgkinson’s decision to wind back vital protection for critically endangered shark species at Fish
Rock and Green Island on NSW’s mid-north coast.
Fish Rock and Green Island are among the most important critical habitat areas for grey nurse sharks
on the east coast of Australia.
“Minister Hodgkinson’s roll back of safeguards at Fish Rock and Green Island leave behind totally
inadequate measures for the ongoing protection of critically endangered grey nurse sharks,” Chief
Executive Officer Pepe Clarke said today.
“The Stevens Review of grey nurse shark protection, commissioned by the previous NSW
government, recommended “no commercial or recreational fishing (including spearfishing) within
1.5km of the critical habitat sites”.
“In addition to the scientific evidence of continued threats to these sharks from current fishing
activities, dive operators at South West Rocks that regularly visit the sites report seeing hooked and
injured sharks on a regular basis. They have contributed to the mounting photographic evidence that
fishing continues to have a significant negative impact on the sharks.
“Each day of delay for strong protection measures presents an unacceptable risk that another grey
nurses shark will be killed or injured.
“Given the scientific evidence and local reports, it is completely premature for the Fishing Minister to
remove protection for grey nurse sharks while a three month consultation process takes place. Her
decision has also been taken before the findings of the statewide scientific review of marine
conservation promised by Premier Barry O’Farrell during the election campaign.
“We call on the Fisheries Minister to implement the findings of the Stevens Review and strengthen the
protection measures needed to stop further decline and encourage the recovery of our grey nurse
sharks,” Mr Clarke said.