Save Our Sharks

Sharks are a critical keystone species. They maintain the balance of life in the sea and keep our coral reefs healthy. But global fisheries kill millions of sharks each year, and sharks are now in peril throughout the world’s oceans.

We need to ban shark finning, improve our fisheries and stop culling to save our sharks.

Threats to Sharks

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Shark netting and baited drum lines are an outdated and archaic means of sharing our coastline with sharks.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.

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.

Why are sharks important?

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.

 

How can sharks be saved?

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:

  • Protecting hammerheads and other threatened sharks from fisheries and shark control programs like culling, drum lines and shark nets.
  • Banning Australia’s import and export of shark fins.

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.

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