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23rd January - Australia rejects UN protection for globally threatened migratory sharks to placate fishers      



23rd January 2018

The Australian Government has again defied the international community’s commitment to threatened migratory species by today announcing it is taking out reservations on the listings of the dusky shark, blue shark, and the white-spotted wedgefish under the UN Convention for Migratory Species (CMS). It follows reservations Australia took out against CMS listings for thresher and hammerhead sharks in 2015.

Humane Society International says this decision makes a mockery out of Australia’s commitment to the UN Convention, and will see these species of sharks continue to be killed by commercial and recreational fishers.

“This decision is really no different to Japan taking out reservations against international protections for whales so that they can keep killing them,” said Nicola Beynon, Humane Society International’s Head of Campaigns.

“This destructive move by the Australian Government to placate commercial fishers at the expense of globally threatened species will surely tarnish our country’s reputation for conservation under UN treaties.”

The 2015 reservations taken out against the listings for thresher sharks and hammerheads were the first time our country had ever done so against a globally agreed conservation measure by the treaty.

Humane Society International attended the CMS negotiations in Manila last October and campaigned for the inclusion of all shark species that were eventually listed under the Convention. The Australian Government did not object to the international protection for listings of the shark species in Manila, but said they would not implement the protections at home.

“The blue shark is the most migratory and wide ranging of all sharks but it is caught in fisheries and as bycatch at a staggering 20 million individuals a year, making it the most commonly found shark in the destructive fin trade.

“The dusky shark is also a prominent species of the fin trade and both blue and dusky sharks are killed in longline fisheries in Australia with their fins exported to Asia,” continued Ms Beynon.

Humane Society International is calling on Minister Frydenberg and the Australian Government to reconsider their position and withdraw these reservations, and to give these species full no-take protection under national environment law.


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