HSI calls on 28 nations to hold Australia to account on shark treatment
Humane Society International (HSI) has today called on 28 nations to hold Australia to account over its failure to protect sharks following Australia’s decision to allow recreational sports fishers to continue to catch five migratory shark species recently recognised as globally threatened under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (known as the Bonn Convention).
HSI has called on countries such as Palau and South Africa, which are also range States for these sharks, to encourage Australia to reverse this exemption and to once again become an international leader in the protection of marine life.
HSI Director Michael Kennedy said, “On the international stage, Australia is falling behind in looking after nature. Not only is it dragging its heels on halting dangerous climate change, Australia is developing a distinct anti-shark persona and has developed a trend in opting out of laws which protect sharks.
“When the Mako and Porbeagle sharks were listed as threatened under the Bonn Convention, the Australian Government amended federal environment legislation to allow recreational fishers to continue to catch those species with immunity. When the Scalloped and Great Hammerheads, and the Pelagic, Big-eye and Common Threshers, were listed under the Bonn Convention, the Australian Government lodged a reservation under the treaty against those sharks to exempt Australia from the International treaty protections,” Mr Kennedy said.
“When the Western Australian Government instituted a shark cull, the federal Government granted the permit to kill Great White Sharks, exempting the State from domestic environmental laws that protect Great Whites, which are a threatened species. Then there is Australia’s long-term commitment to shark meshing programs which are intended to deplete shark populations indiscriminately and catch non-dangerous species, such as the critically endangered Grey Nurse Shark. All in all, Australia’s approach to sharks is highly disappointing, particularly when compared with island nations such as Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia, which have led the world by creating shark sanctuaries in their waters and attracting thousands of tourists keen to see nature as it is supposed to be. We hope that Australia can be encouraged to do the same,” Mr Kennedy concluded.