Live shark finning, the practice of cutting the fins from live sharks and dumping the body, is illegal in all jurisdictions in Australia, thanks largely to AMCS campaigning with ocean lovers around the country.
However, the legislation differs between various states, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth, which makes it very difficult to monitor fisheries compliance with shark finning legislation.
Imports from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines are particularly concerning, as these countries don’t regulate the harvesting of shark fins, and still practice cruel and wasteful live shark finning at sea. AMCS calls on the Australian Government to prohibit the import and export of shark fin products, which would reduce global demand for shark fins and end Australia’s contribution to the global shark fin trade.
Shark culling occurs in both Queensland and NSW via shark nets and drumlines (baited hooks).
Hundreds of targeted sharks, many of them threatened species, are caught each year in each state. Over 60 years in NSW alone, the shark nets and drumlines also caught and killed 15,135 other marine animals including turtles, whales, dolphins, rays, dugongs, and countless large and small sharks.
Shark netting and baited drum lines are an outdated and archaic means of sharing our coastline with sharks. We need non-lethal shark control measures to avoid shark attacks, and better public education in order to live in peace with sharks and other marine life.
If too many sharks are removed from an ecosystem, it can upset the balance between predators and prey all the way through the food chain. Recent Australian research has shown that healthy shark populations are crucial to the health of coral reefs. There are more than 300 different species of sharks in Australian water, and biologically they have more in common with whales and dolphins than other fish. Sharks are long-lived, slow growing and late to reach maturity and reproductive age. This means they take a long time to recover from over-exploitation.
Live shark finning, the practice of cutting the fins from live sharks and dumping the body, is illegal in all jurisdictions in Australia, thanks largely to campaigning from the AMCS community. However there is a long way to go. We are currently focusing our work on:
Alternatives to shark culling already exist. Surf lifeguards and lifesavers monitor our popular beaches around Australia’s coast. Innovative approaches have been developed, such as a ‘clever buoys’ and shark tagging and monitoring, where tagged sharks “tweet” their location as they swim past underwater detectors. We can use non lethal methods like these to help us avoid unnecessary shark attacks. Many of these methods improve our knowledge of shark behaviour. With so many of our magnificent, graceful shark species under threat, this conservation research is critical. AMCS does not currently support any targeted shark fishing in Australia, and recommends that the public avoids shark or ‘flake’ when eating seafood.
Did you know that the barbaric practice of illegal live-finning could still be threatening sharks in Australia? Watch the video below to understand the gaping legal loophole in the fishing laws of Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia that allows the illegal live-finning of sharks to occur, driving some of our threatened species faster towards extinction.
There’s a simple solution to finish live-finning for good: we need to change fishing laws so that sharks are brought back to land in one piece with their fins on – this will prevent live-finning from happening out at sea.
Get the latest news on threats to sharks and how to save our oceans.