Shark protection dealt a blow
Threatened shark species were dealt a blow in the Australian Senate this week with the passage of a bill to remove protection for three species under Australia’s national environment laws.
After pressure from game fishers and backbenchers in marginal seats, Minister Peter Garrett, on behalf of the Rudd Government, moved unprecedented legislation to exempt recreational fishers from offence provisions when they injure and kill longfin mako, shortfin mako and porbeagle sharks.
The three species of shark were listed as protected migratory species under Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act as a result of their being listed on the UN Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species.
“It is the first time such exemptions have been given to a special interest group to allow them to continue killing an otherwise protected species and sets a dangerous precedent”, said Nicola Beynon HSI Senior Program Manager.
In addition to being migratory, all three species are listed as globally ‘vulnerable to extinction’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Prior to the pressure from gamefishers, Peter Garrett had even put the shortfin mako on his priority list for consideration for further protection as a threatened species under the EPBC Act.
HSI strongly congratulates Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewart for trying to amend the Government’s bill so that it would be less damaging for the sharks.
We regret that the Coalition saw fit to support the Government’s bill unamended.