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Action Alert - Grey Nurse Shark      

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Action Alert - 2 December 2007

Last chance to protect the grey nurse shark
In July 2006, the former federal Minister for the Environment accredited the NSW Ocean Trap and Line Fishery as a Wildlife Trade Operation under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, enabling the export of catch from commercial fishing activities operating within this fishery. Recognising that the fishery operates in the vicinity of grey nurse shark key aggregation sites in NSW waters, and that fishing activities are the cause of human-induced mortality in this critically endangered species that have led to massive population declines, the Minister attached a condition to the accreditation stating that by the 16th November 2007, the NSW Department of Primary Industries must have developed and implemented ' ˜fishery closures of appropriate area for grey nurse sharks'.

While there are 16 grey nurse shark key aggregation sites in need of urgent protection, on the very last day of the deadline, the NSW Minister for Primary Industries announced limited closures at only 2 locations; immediately at the Magic Point aggregation site near Maroubra, and at Fish Rock/Green Island near South West Rocks which will not be implemented until May 2008. This is despite the condition making it clear that closures were to be implemented by 16th November 2007.

By implementing the bare minimum of protective fishing closures, and only doing so at the very last minute, the NSW DPI has demonstrated that it is not serious about protecting this species. On the 14th December 2007, the NSW Ocean Trap and Line Fishery will once again be seeking a renewal on its accreditation as a Wildlife Trade Operation (WTO). In-coming Environment Minister Peter Garrett must use all his leverage through the EPBC Act to force the NSW Government to enact no-take sanctuaries at all grey nurse shark key aggregation sites, by not re-accrediting the fishery until they do so. The NSW Government must not be responsible for the extinction of one of Australia's most iconic shark species.


Act by 10 December 2007

Write to Mr Peter Garrett, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 or by email to Peter.Garrett.MP@aph.gov.au

Highlight that with up to 90% of grey nurse sharks observed in a recent survey being found at well documented aggregation sites, and with incidental hooking and capture considered to be the greatest cause of mortality, the most crucial step to maintaining the population is to remove all forms of fishing from all aggregation sites. Given the NSW Government's historical inaction and failure to abide by past conditions placed on the previous WTO accreditation, stress that the federal government must utilise this opportunity to secure the protection of grey nurse sharks by not re-accrediting the NSW Ocean Trap and Line Fishery in December until there are no-take sanctuary zones of 1000 ' “ 15000m enacted at all grey nurse shark key aggregation sites.

Please send us copies of any responses you receive.

Web: AndreasLustig.com