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Petition – Fisheries

Stop hammering hammerheads with gillnets

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— Overview —

Fisheries

The biggest threat to shark populations in Australia and around the world is overfishing. Sharks are one of the most threatened group of marine animals and are vulnerable to fishing pressure because, like us humans, they mature slowly, give birth to relatively few young, and are long-lived.

Put simply, the rate of sharks fished from the ocean exceeds their ability to reproduce.

“I could never write Jaws today. I could never demonize an animal… that is vitally necessary for the balance of nature in the sea, and an animal that we may — if we don’t change our destructive behaviours— extinguish from the face of the earth.”

Peter Benchley, Author of Jaws
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Sharks in Australia are not only targeted for flesh and fins, but are often caught accidentally as bycatch (released) or byproduct (retained).

Sharks are typically caught in three methods of fishing: longlines measuring up to kilometres in length with 1000’s of hooks, gillnets stretching for hundreds of meters, and trawls that scour the ocean floor.

Unfortunately not all sharks survive the experience of capture, even if they are released. Improving the sustainability of our fisheries is an important tool we can use to help save our sharks.

Sharks and rays have existed for 450 million years. Let’s think of 450 million years as a 24 hour clock. Since we started industrialised commercial fishing around 100 years ago, humans have driven one quarter of shark and ray species towards the threat of extinction in less than 1/10th of a second – 0.02 seconds to be precise.

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— Brink of Extinction —

63 million

It is estimated that an average of 63 million sharks are killed each year in fisheries around the world . This is the equivalent of nearly three times the Australian population per year.

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— It’s not just sharks —

Fisheries don’t discriminate

Australia’s shark fisheries don’t just catch sharks – they catch seals, dolphins, and even birds. In 2017, one shark fishery alone was responsible for the capture of 179 seals, 75 dolphins and 30 albatross.

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Australia exports and imports shark fin. A ‘fins naturally attached’ policy is the most effective way to reduce illegal shark finning but this doesn’t occur in all of Australia. ‘Fins naturally attached’ ensures that sharks are brought back to land ‘whole’ before their fins are harvested. When enforced and regulated, a ‘fins naturally attached’ policy ensures that no sharks are subjected to cruel live finning.

In Queensland, some parts of the Northern Territory and in Western Australia, there is no ‘fins naturally attached’ policy meaning that illegal finning and dumping of sharks could still be occurring.

— Why sharks need help —

More about sharks

Learn more about the issues facing sharks in Australia and how you can help become a conservation champion for their protection.

— SUPPORT SHARKS —

Will you help?

Please join us as a Shark Champion. You can support the conservation of sharks by signing one of our petitions or donating financially.

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