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Queensland to give green light to shark extermination

(Anna Bligh portrait by Sheila N.)

Sea Shepherd News media release, 16 May 08

Just when we were thinking it was becoming safe for sharks to be in Australian waters, the Queensland government in an incredible display of ecological insensitivity has proposed a shark fin fishery in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and in marine parks in Queensland waters.

The practice of shark finning is the most nonsensical, ecologically destructive, and unethical fishery in the world.
Australia is supposed to be one of the most ecologically aware and proactive nations in the world. What are Queensland politicians thinking?

Over 90% of the world’s sharks have already been eradicated from our oceans and this bodes ill for the ecological integrity of marine eco-systems.

Queensland wants to issue licenses to take an unlimited number of sharks in what amounts to an extermination policy against these essential and magnificent creatures.

This announcement has come just as Rob Stewart’s award winning film Sharkwater opens in Australia. This film which features the Sea Shepherd efforts to stop shark finning is raising awareness of the plight of sharks worldwide.

Recently Rob Stewart met and spoke with Andrew McNamara, the Queensland Minister for Sustainability and Climate Change. It was a promising sign that Mr. McNamara attended the Brisbane premiere of Sharkwater.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been defending sharks in the Galapagos, Ecuador, Cocos Island, Costa Rica and Malpelo Island off Colombia. The last place we thought we would need to intervene to protect sharks would be Australia.

Recently the media has been sensationalizing shark attacks despite the fact that on average less than 5 people die each year as a result of interactions with sharks whereas ostriches are responsible for killing an average of one hundred people a year making the ostrich twenty times more dangerous than the shark.

Yet as our media screams out that that humans are victims, we slaughter between 70 and 100 million sharks each year and we are presently waging a war of extermination on an apex marine predator that has existed on this planet for 450 million years.

Is a bowl of sharkfin soup worth the irreparable ecological damage we are doing to the world’s oceans?

What you can do

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is urging all Australians who care about the future of our seas to e-mail Anna Bligh MP Premier of Queensland ThePremier[AT]premiers.qld.gov.au to demand that this legislation be quashed.

Also send an e-mail to Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett at: Peter.Garrett.MP[AT]aph.gov.au

Please click on the following link to sign the petition to oppose the new shark fishing in the Great Barrier Reef: www.sharksavers.org/content/view/260/36/

And we urge all Australians to go see the movie Sharkwater. It is the first film to tell the truth about sharks and it is a film that is going a long way towards protecting this wondrous and unique family of animals.

See also: Greens call for protection of shark stocks of 4 Jun 08.

Contact: goldcoast[AT]seashepherd.org

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Comments

Let's face it, we are planning massive heavy industry development of our coasts (e.g. Mornington Peninsula biosphere at Hastings Port and the horrific dredging of Port Phillip Bay, which has already begun). The reason is that we have been nothing but an extractive third world Pacific Rim economy since the early 1980s. We sell off land to foreigners and second-class our own citizens out of the market.

Shark-fin fishing goes right along with this trend and the one of the land-sharks chasing our wildlife into extinction.

Good on the Seashepherd for standing up for sea-sharks. I hope they and others reverse this mad trend.

In fact a case could be made that killing sharks is anti-competitive. Humans are trying to have a monopoly on fishing the ocean and they are using foul means to achieve this, when, according to competition theory, they should be matching and out-doing the sharks' skills. The ACCC might have something to say about this.

Personally I would not be surprised if the sharks ran a counter attack by taking more bipedal prey from closer to the shore. It is indeed surprising that there are any sharks still able to make a living from the sea with so many dredges and nets about.

Yes, we are certainly dredging the bottom from every perspective.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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Copyright to the author. Please contact sheila [AT] candobetter org or the editor if you wish to make substantial reproduction or republish.

As above.

Perhaps the permits are a way of managing the fishery which currently requires no special permits?

Shark fishing has been happening for a long time on the great barrier reef, a well managed fishery.

Recent laws require each fin to be accompanied by the rest of the shark, which is a huge positive.

I feel the attachment makes no distinction between shark species (more than 125 on the great barrier reef) and different shark habitats.

nor bases it's conclusions on any actual study.

Shark fishing IS sustainable, there are millions of them, when you kill one, another takes it's place.

The fact that many species are in decline is due to over-fishing, poor management and human population growth.

Maybe this media release, like the movie mentioned, focuses on the cruel slaughter of individual sharks (which is just like a dolphin with big teeth), rather than the problem: over fishing, over population.

Reduce immigration.

Just because an activity has been going on for a long time, does not mean that it is presently sustainable or correct especially with the World's Shark population at a 90% decline.

The Shark along the area of the Great Barrier Reef do not “wander” or migrate, only living in that area. To continually remove shark for any reason now that there are only 10% of the number of Sharks on the Planet is foolhardy. So to state that there are millions of Shark, and if you take one another appears, is not correct and a false assumption. Because these creatures live in this area and take many years to mature, having only have one pup at a time, replenishing a supply of Sharks takes many decades. If shark fishing of any kind continues on the Great Barrier Reef and is expanded, these creatures will be wiped off the Planet. Sharks are vitally needed for the health of the Reefs.

Your statement that the Shark Fishery is well managed, is a point of view of the Fisheries Dept, and with the loss of 90% of the World's Sharks gone and many Species on the brink of extinction within the next few years due to Shark Fishing/Finning and Poaching, we cannot continue to allow any Sharks to be taken. The Fishery must be abolished to save the Sharks. We do not want to see any Sharks killed in Australia for any reason. There is an abundance of other foods to eat, and with Shark poaching rife, all Shark killing must be stopped.

The Coral Sea Marine Park must be established to save all marine life.

Oh please, how in the world is shark fishing sustainable? If one shark is killed and other takes it place instantly the sharks must be breeding like rabbits, which is definitely not the case. They take at least 10-12 years to reach sexual maturity, so how is this instant stock replacement you speak of possible? It is people like you who will be asking/begging for help and redemption when the environment is ruined due to capitalism and greed that you seem to be promoting. Shark products are totally unnecessary for the survival of the human race, so why risk it putting a imperative species in danger just so the human race can make a dollar...it is just disgusting that you would encourage this you should be ashamed of yourself. You need to open your eyes, watch Sharkwater, you will understand your mistakes.

(This was posted to me through the contact form just now - JS)

Hi guys. I highly recommend that you see the documentary Shark Water (www.sharkwater.com). I saw it a couple of days ago, and it completely changed the way I look at sharks. Now I feel much more sorry for them then afraid of them (they are non-aggressive creatures, and are getting killed at a rate of one hundred million a year), and am taking action to try and insure their welfare. Peace.