AUSTRALIA CONTINUES TO PURSUE LOW-HANGING FRUIT IN INTERNATIONAL SHARK CONSERVATION
San Jose, Costa Rica
Humane Society International (HSI) is currently at a Sharks Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) where signatories are meeting to discuss international shark conservation and the inclusion of 22 shark and ray species under the MoU.
HSI has been concerned that Australia, which has entered reservations* with regard to 5 shark species listed under the CMS, would not support the expansion of the Sharks MoU by adding these species. HSI is pleased that Australia has supported these listings which received unanimous support at the meeting. However HSI remains frustrated that Australia pursues easy conservation measures, such as under the voluntary Sharks MoU, but enters reservations where measures are legally binding.
Biodiversity Project Officer Jessica Harwood has said, “While we are pleased that signatories including Australia have added these 22 threatened sharks and rays to the voluntary Sharks MoU, we call on Australia to quit running from legally binding international measures which seek to protect migratory sharks by withdrawing these reservations under the Convention.”
“We also ask Australia to fully implement the CMS under Australia’s domestic law. This will also mean prohibiting recreational fishers from taking internationally protected threatened sharks such as thresher sharks. Australia must return to its position as an international leader in shark protection which has seen it nominate shark species for protection under international Conventions in the past. Currently Australia is merely showing other parties how to avoid legal obligations where it is inconvenient to oblige by them. HSI will be seeking further discussions with the Australian Government on the future handling of CMS listings under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999” Ms. Harwood concluded.
*Reservations entered under the CMS have the effect of withdrawing the signatory from the Convention with regard to the species the reservation specifies.