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Petition – Save our Endemics

Saving our uniquely Aussie sharks & rays

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— Overview —

Overfishing in Australia

Overfishing in Australia is the biggest threat to shark populations locally and around the world. Sharks are one of the most threatened group of marine animals with 30% of the world's species facing the threat of extinction. Sharks 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 by-catch (released) or by-product (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. Overfishing in Australia is common using these methods.

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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— 63 Million —

Overfishing Facts

Overfishing has put many species on the brink of Extinction. It is estimated that at least 63 million sharks are killed each year in fisheries around the world . This equates to at least three times the human population of Australia.

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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. Some of the most alarming overfishing facts In 2017, are that one shark fishery alone was responsible for the capture of 179 seals, 75 dolphins and 30 albatross.

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- More Overfishing Facts From Australia -

Australia's Overfishing Facts

Australia still exports and imports shark fin. The ‘fins naturally attached’ law is the most effective way to reduce illegal shark finning, but also that this doesn’t continue to occur in the entirety of Australia. The idea of overfishing in Australia is far worse when you consider that endangered sharks are being over-fished, killed and then being discarded only to retain their fins for profit.

‘Fins naturally attached’ ensures sharks are brought back to land in one piece before their fins are cut off. When enforced, a ‘fins naturally attached’ law ensures that no sharks are subjected to cruel live-finning.

Western Australia is the only place in Australia where there is no ‘fins naturally attached’ law in any of their fisheries that harvest sharks. Queensland and the Northern Territory have fins naturally attached in their largest shark fisheries but are yet to extend the law to their other fisheries.

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— Alarming Overfishing Facts —

We're eating endangered sharks!?

Australians are eating endangered sharks and don’t know it.

‘Flake’ should only refer to shark meat from gummy and rig sharks which aren’t endangered. However, endangered school sharks and endangered scalloped hammerheads are legally harvested and can still find a way onto your plate as ‘flake’ without you – and possibly the retailer – even knowing. There’s no legal obligation in Australia to label shark meat for what species it is or where it’s from.

#GiveFlakeABreak and choose sustainable alternatives. Download GoodFish: Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide to help make your choices while still supporting local fish and chip shops and the fishers who do a great job for healthy oceans. Know your overfishing facts and what you’re eating.

— Why sharks need help —

More about sharks

Learn more about overfishing facts and the issues our sharks in Australia are facing. You can help become a conservation champion for their protection. It's easy.

— SUPPORT SHARKS —

Will you help?

Please join us as a Shark Champion and support the conservation of sharks by signing one of our shark petitions to prevent overfishing in Australia, or any financial donations you'd like to contribute. Your help will make a world of difference.

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