The Nature Conservation Council of NSW is calling on both the State government and Opposition to support stronger protection for the critically endangered grey nurse sharks near South West Rocks and in all NSW waters.
"Grey nurse sharks are one of the most vulnerable creatures in our ocean. Unless we act now to protect their breeding habitats the grey nurse shark will become extinct within our lifetime," Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Officer Pepe Clarke said.
"The grey nurse shark is completely harmless to humans but has been almost entirely wiped out off Australia’s east coast by human impacts. Even today, accidental capture by commercial hook and line operations and recreational fishers are a threat to their survival."
"Every year at least one grey nurse shark dies in shark nets off NSW’s beaches and an estimated one shark is killed by human activity each month."
"The slow growing, late to mature grey nurse sharks tend to breed only once every two years, making them particularly vulnerable to pressures on population numbers."
"Protected zones such as Fish Rock and Green Island on the state's mid‐north coast provide essential safe havens where grey nurse sharks can live, rest and reproduce undisturbed."
"In the lead‐up to the 2011 State election the Nature Conservation Council and leading environment groups are calling on all political parties to give grey nurse sharks the best chance of survival with the full protection of their critical habitat and aggregation areas, including Fish Rock and Green Island", he said.