QUEENSLAND FISHERIES “IMPROVED PROTECTIONS” ONLY PROTECTS SHARK FIN TRADE
11th August 2017
Humane Society International is outraged by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries claiming they have made significant changes to management of their fisheries in order to prevent a potential Federal Endangered listing of hammerhead sharks.
“Queensland is lobbying Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to list a globally endangered species, the hammerhead shark, as “conservation dependent” under Australian Federal law instead of the Endangered listing they qualify for. This weaker level of protection is in order to allow the continued catch and export of the species and its fins to Asia,” Humane Society international Marine Scientist Jessica Morris said today.
“This is no different to allowing elephants to be killed for their ivory or rhinos for their horns. It is not befitting Australia’s reputation for wildlife conservation and the Minister needs to put a firm stop to it,” Ms Morris continued.
Three species of hammerhead sharks are being considered for a Federal Endangered listing following Humane Society International nominations in 2012. The Minister is due to make a decision by the end of the year.
Queensland fisheries have been repeatedly criticised by Humane Society International for mismanaging the fishery that kills hundreds of hammerhead sharks.
“The Queensland East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery (ECIFFF) operating in our Great Barrier Reef would now possibly rate as one of the worst managed fisheries in operation in Australia* because of the multiple gears, multiple sectors, multiple targets, and potential to deplete already vulnerable populations of marine wildlife,” continued Ms Morris.
“Furthermore, Queensland’s latest recreational fishing survey indicates 193,000 sharks were caught by recreational fishers and we estimate that approximately 29,000 were hammerheads, not to mention the tens of thousands of hammerheads killed in Queensland’s shark control program since the 1960s.
“The Federal Environment Minister needs to listen to the science, and put in place effective protection for hammerheads, not listen to the fishermen who want to commercially exploit and export an endangered species for the lucrative and damaging shark fin soup market in Asia,” said Ms Morris.
“The Queensland Government needs to realise it is largely responsible for the key threats to the species in Australia and start working to prevent hammerhead fatalities instead of lobbying the federal Environment Minister to water down endangered species protection,” concluded Ms Morris.
*Notes: – The ECIFFF states that hammerhead sharks are only taken as a byproduct (non-target catch that is able to sold and exported commercially) by the commercial fishery. However, they consistently have high catch rates and with those for 2014/15 the highest ever recorded, hammerheads are clearly being targeted. Queensland doesn’t even require fishermen to land sharks with their trunks still attached to fins.