This year's SeaWeek 2005* (6-13 March), focuses on "Saving our Sharks", and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is calling on all Australian Governments to end the wholesale slaughter of our precious sharks.
Craig Bohm, AMCS National Fisheries Campaigner, explains, "Australia is home to over 300 species of shark and virtually none of these pose any threat to humans. Yet we indiscriminately kill millions of them every year in over 70 commercial fisheries and numerous recreational fisheries".
Sharks and their close cousins the rays and chimeras are more like whales and dolphins than other fish. They are long lived, slow growing, late to mature, produce few young and have very long pregnancies. These characteristics make sharks particularly vulnerable to impacts and quick to succumb to fishing pressure," Bohm said.
Bohm continued, "Although some Australian governments and a few fisheries are taking some action to reduce the wide-scale killing, much more needs to be done to stop the targeting of sharks. Sharks must be removed as a bycatch from numerous Australian fisheries and recreational fishers must learn techniques to avoid them.
Adele Pedder, AMCS Northern Marine Campaigner added "Across northern Australia, large sharks like tiger sharks, hammerheads and whalers are being killed primarily for their fins. Shark fins fetch up to $100/kg dockside and this is driving an explosion in shark hunting".
Ingrid Neilson, AMCS Grey Nurse Shark Campaigner said "Australia's list of threatened sharks grows longer with the years. One species on the edge of extinction is the critically endangered grey nurse shark. The NSW Government must protect the 500 remaining individuals on Australia's east coast and all governments must realise that sharks can no longer be considered fair game for fishers".
Craig Bohm, National Fisheries Campaigner: 0427 133 481, 1800 066 299
Adele Pedder, Northern Marine Campaigner: 0422 108 539, (08) 8941 7461
Ingrid Neilson, Grey Nurse Shark Campaigner: 0421 972 731, 1800 066 299
Footage and images are available on request from AMCS
* SeaWeek is an annual, national, week-long celebration of Australia's oceans and the challenges it faces. The theme for SeaWeek 2005 is Save our Sharks' and occurs from the 6-13 March 2005.