Australia’s leading marine conservation group today rejected the NSW Government’s proposal to spend tax payer’s money on a test tube breeding trials for grey nurse sharks, rather than taking decisive and immediate steps to protect them from imminent extinction.
Craig Bohm, National Fisheries Campaigner with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), and member of the National Recovery Team for the Grey Nurse Shark was shocked by the NSW Government’s proposal.
“Our grey nurse sharks needs immediate protection ‘on the water’. This proposal is a distraction from the real job that needs to be done. The National Action Plan for the Grey Nurse shark and sound scientific advice from shark specialists like Dr John Stevens from CSIRO specifically recommends that the NSW Government must protect the grey nurse shark’s homes – their critical habitat sites. The National Action Plan does not recommend that we breed test tube babies, it says that we must stop the killing,” Bohm said.
“There is no point then in the Carr Government spending money to breed sharks in test tubes if the baby sharks do not have sea sanctuaries to protect them from fishing when they are released into the sea. This is not conservation. This is madness.”
Bohm continued, “AMCS understands that at least 12 grey nurse sharks are killed by commercial and recreational fishing activities in NSW waters each year. With less than 500 individual grey nurse sharks left in eastern Australia, their extinction is imminent because at the very least we need more than 50 breeding females alive to maintain a viable breeding population in the wild.”
“The recipe for grey nurse shark protection has been understood since we developed the National Recovery Plan for the species in the 1990s. We need fishing to be stopped within 1500m of the 16 known critical habitat sites and we need to prevent sharks being killed on fishing hooks and in shark nets outside these areas”.
“Grey nurse sharks are not getting a fair go and we are going to lose them. Our community should not have to explain the extinction of the grey nurse shark to our children. Our kids have a right to experience these gentle, beautiful animals too. They will want them to see them for themselves. Bob Carr is the only person to ensure that this can happen, but to do so he must first stop the killing,” Bohm concluded.
Craig Bohm on 0427 133 451 or 1800 066 299