Sydney, 18 May 2006
Don't let Minister approve fishery lethal to grey nurse sharks
The NSW Government has requested the federal Environment Minister's approval for the New South Wales Ocean Trap and Line Fishery despite the fishery threatening the survival of the grey nurse shark. This is a powerful opportunity for the Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, to force the NSW Government to fully protect the shark's critical habitat sites from this damaging fishery.
In November last year, Minister Campbell declared the fishery an Approved Wildlife Trade Operation under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act but only for 3 months. In doing so, he put NSW on notice that they must fix the grey nurse shark problem. The NSW Government has now come back to the Minister and asked him to accredit the fishery for 3 years with no firm guarantee that the problem will be fixed. (A declaration that the fishery is an Approved Wildlife Trade Operation will allow the fishery to continue exporting its produce).
The grey nurse is listed as critically endangered under the EPBC Act. Out of a population of only 400-500, on average 12 grey nurse shark unnatural fatalities are reported a year, with many more suspected. About half of the reported deaths are caused by accidental hooking in the NSW Ocean Trap and Line Fishery, listed as a key threatening process to the grey nurse under the NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994.
The NSW Government's own Species Impact Statement admits that the measures the NSW Government proposes for the fishery will still not adequately protect the grey nurse shark. See HSI submission attached for further details.
Send urgent letters to Minister Campbell asking that he refuse to declare the NSW Ocean Trap and Line Fishery an Approved Wildlife Trade Operation or include it in the list of exempt native specimens, unless ALL grey nurse shark critical habitats are fully protected from the fishery.
Let the Minister know that while this fishery impacts on the grey nurse shark, a Wildlife Trade Operation would be in contravention of the EPBC Act as it does not meet the Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries. Recommend he insist that 1500m no fishing zones be established around each of the shark's critical habitat sites as a minimum.
Please also remind the Minister you are very concerned that he has not yet declared the promised marine reserve for the Cod Grounds critical habitat site in Commonwealth waters.
Write to Senator The Hon Ian Campbell, Minister for Environment & Heritage, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Fax: (02) 6273 6101, Email: email@example.com
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