Sharks are a vital part of our ocean environment. Large sharks act as the apex or top predators in their environment, maintaining the balance of all life beneath them. Healthy numbers of sharks are an indicator of the health of our marine environment, with research demonstrating that the massive depletion of sharks that has occurred in the marine environment worldwide has had negative and cascading effects throughout our ocean ecosystems. This has the potential to impact on our fishing industries and the livelihoods of many who depend on the oceans.
Sharks face many threats, with a third of all open ocean sharks assessed as being threatened with extinction. Research has shown that up to 73 million sharks are killed every year for their fins.
HSI works to address a number of these threats and to promote the need for the protection and conservation of sharks both domestically and internationally. Our campaigns are centred around the following areas:
Remove shark nets and drumlines
In Australia shark control programs have been established in NSW and Queensland with a desired aim of protecting ocean users. HSI has campaigned against these programs for many years, as we believe they are an unscientific and outdated method of protecting ocean users. Not only do shark nets and drumlines kill thousands of endangered marine species, they are also ineffective at protecting the public. In fact, in NSW 65% of shark bites occur at netted beaches. HSI recently submitted a scientific nomination for the NSW and Queensland Shark Control Programs to be listed as a Key Threatening Process under the Federal EPBC Act. Find out more about our campaign and how you can help here
Ban the sale, trade & possession of shark fins
HSI is proud that our lobbying and media campaigns have already led to shark finning bans in most state and commonwealth waters in Australia. However one of the main drivers for the worldwide decline in shark numbers is the insatiable appetite for shark fins. HSI is campaigning for laws in Australia which will ban the sale, trade and possession of shark fins, to bring an end once and for all to this cruel and unnecessary practice by reducing the demand. Find out more about our campaign and how you can help here
Protecting sharks in Australia
In addition to our work on shark control programs and shark fin trade, HSI is active on a number of shark conservation issues in Australia. This has focussed on getting sharks protected under federal and state legislation, as well as calling for a comprehensive shark conservation and management policy in Australia. Find out what HSI is doing to help conserve sharks in Australia here
Protecting sharks internationally
Sharks are a migratory species that move across international boundaries, so the increasing, international attention on the plight of sharks is very welcome. HSI works in a number of international environmental fora to ensure that sharks remain high on the agendas of these meetings. Find out what HSI is doing to help conserve sharks internationally here
HSI’s shark conservation policy
To view our detailed Policy recommendations to the Australian Government, download our Shark Conservation Policy
For all our latest news on shark issues please click here