Humane Society International (HSI) Australia warmly welcomes announcements from the Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek and the Queensland State Government committing to remove destructive gillnets from the Great Barrier Reef. Along with a $160 million commitment to purchase and retire gillnet licenses, all hammerhead shark species will now be commercially no-take species in the state’s waters. 

HSI congratulates our Shark Champion project partners the Australian Marine Conservation Society, and also WWF, for their hard work over many years on this campaign.

Lawrence Chlebeck, Marine Biologist & Campaigner, Humane Society International Australia said:  

“Gillnet fishing in our iconic Great Barrier Reef has taken a devastating toll on threatened species, so this announcement from the Federal and Queensland governments is an extremely welcome step towards a better-protected Reef. 

“Commercial gillnets targeting Spanish mackerel and other commercial fish species have entangled and drowned countless dugongs, dolphins, turtles, sharks and rays since their inception.  

“HSI is especially pleased the announcement includes a prohibition on the commercial catch of scalloped hammerheads in the Great Barrier Reef. HSI nominated the scalloped hammerhead for protection as Endangered but a decision was taken five years ago to deny that protection, despite qualifying, so that the species could continue to be commercially targeted and its meat and fins exported for shark fin soup. It was truly outrageous when the decision was taken to allow the commercial catch and export of scalloped hammerhead, a globally-listed Critically Endangered species, in the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. If a Critically Endangered species could be harvested from a World Heritage Area, where would any threatened species be safe? HSI is pleased to now see that wrong righted. It is a relief we are now giving these endangered animals the vital protection they so desperately need.” 

HSI Australia thanks federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek and the Queensland Government for working together to remove the threat of gillnet fishing from the globally treasured Great Barrier Reef. 

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