Protected mako sharks killed, chopped up, and used as bait in WA
Humane Society International (HSI) has again voiced its disgust at the ongoing Western Australian shark cull after it emerged that mako sharks, protected as migratory species under federal environmental legislation (the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)) have not only been caught on the drumlines, but have also been chopped up and used as bait on the lines by the contractor employed by the WA Government.
“It is clear that the WA Government shark killing program is having a significant impact on the marine environment,” said HSI’s Senior Program Manager Alexia Wellbelove. “Despite the Government’s apparent intent that the large hooks used would not catch smaller sharks, it is clear that this program has been even more effective in catching small sharks than the ‘target’ 3 metre plus sharks.”
“Even worse, however, is the news that mako sharks are being caught in addition to other species such as the tiger shark. Mako sharks are federally protected as they are listed as a migratory species under the EPBC Act as a result of much needed international protection. The contractor has even boasted that a protected mako shark was subsequently chopped up and used as bait on the drumlines,” continued Ms Wellbelove.
“It is clear that this is a policy unsupported by science or the majority of the public, contravenes Australia’s domestic and international obligations, and is proving our worst fears of having a significant impact on the marine environment. How much more evidence is required before Minister Hunt revokes the EPBC Act exemption and stops the killing?” concluded Ms Wellbelove.
Both shortfin and longfin mako sharks are listed in Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). As a result both species are listed as migratory species under the EPBC Act.
In light of concerns for the conservation status of the shortfin mako shark, HSI submitted a nomination to gain protection for the species under the EPBC Act in 2009. The outcome of the detailed scientific assessment is awaited.