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Action Alert - Support listing of three shark species      

voice your support for the listing of three species OF MIGRATORY SHARKS

21st December 2009
The Government's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties is currently investigating the proposed listing of three shark species ' “ the shortfin mako, longfin mako and porbeagle sharks, under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) as migratory species.

This follows the listing of these three species at the end of 2008 in the Appendices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Listing under Appendix II of CMS encourages much needed international cooperation to work towards the conservation of these species.

Shark species worldwide are facing numerous threats. Sharks are inherently vulnerable to over-fishing because they grow slowly, are late to mature and produce relatively few young. Species, such as the shortfin mako, longfin mako and porbeagle sharks, are in trouble across the world, and particularly in places such as the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Oceans. In Australia, HSI is also seriously concerned about the state of our shark populations. HSI believes that this international cooperation will be crucial to prevent further decline of our shark species.

In Australia, this protection is translated into federal environmental law by listing the three species as migratory under the EPBC Act. All species listed under the CMS Appendices for which Australia is a range state, must be listed as migratory species under this law with no Ministerial discretion to do otherwise.

The committee is currently inviting comments on the listing of these species, by 15th January 2010. However industry, particularly recreational fishers who fish for mako sharks in Commonwealth waters are up in arms. They believe, despite the lack of scientific evidence, that these sharks are common and do not require protection. HSI's view is that these shark species must be protected, before it is too late and to meet our international and EPBC obligations. Unfortunately, Environment Minister Peter Garrett has suggested that the catch and release by recreational fishers will not have a significant impact on populations of these species, a fact that HSI strongly disagrees with. We are therefore asking that you also write expressing your views in support of the strongest possible migratory species listing.

Action required by 15th January 2010:

Please write to the Secretary of the Joint Standing Committee of Treaties letting them know that you support the listing of the shortfin mako, longfin mako and porbeagle sharks as migratory species under the EPBC Act. You may also wish to highlight the threats shark populations in Australia and worldwide are facing, and the importance of Australia taking action before it is too late.

Committee Secretary
Joint Standing Committee on Treaties
Department of House of Representatives
PO Box 6021
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
By email to: jsct@aph.gov.au

For further information on the Committee inquiry see http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jsct/25november2009/tor.htm

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