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Sharks

Sharks

Among the 230,000 tonnes of fish commercially caught or farmed in Australia annually are some 8,000 tonnes of sharks. Beach netting has a high profile, but most sharks are killed and eaten as flake from supermarkets and fish and chip shops.

 

Policy

 

Sharks are an essential part of ocean eco-systems and the AJP advocates complete protection for them; from both culling and harvesting. We also call for a ban on the importation of all shark products.

 

Key Objectives

 

  1. To ban the importation of all shark parts including fins through amending the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (Cth) for imports (Import Regulations).
  2. To give total protection to sharks in Australian waters.
  3. To create school level programs that teach the significance and importance of sharks as well as safe behaviour around sharks.
  4. To invest in non-lethal deterrence of sharks at beaches.
  5. To expand research into shark populations and movements for the protection of both sharks and humans.
  6. To educate people on the mercury risks associated with shark consumption.

 

Background

 

Sharks are ancient and wonderful creatures with hundreds of known species found marine environments around the world. Sharks are apex predators – the top of their food chain – and play an important part in the maintenance of marine ecosystems. While villainised in popular culture and by state governments around Australia, sharks are crucial to our very survival with reports of catastrophic environmental damage in areas without stable shark populations.

 

Furthermore, lethal shark mitigation programs around the country kill thousands of target and non-target marine animals. In Queensland alone, shark mitigation programs have killed over 85,000 animals since 1962, including sharks, dolphins, rays, and even whales. These control programs are yet to be proven effective and are primarily driven by fear-mongering from state governments. Non-lethal water safety programs including the use of dedicated shark spotters and shark monitoring ### can protect both humans and sharks alike. In South Africa, the use of drones to monitor shark movement has been effective in the prevention of incidents by keeping beach-goers informed of the presence of sharks.

 

Not only can we remain safe without having to kill sharks, we can benefit from their presence on our coasts. Sharks help keep our waterways and oceans healthy and vibrant. Like the economic benefits gained from whale watching operators, there is also yet untapped potential in shark tourism based on observation with a commitment to respect and non-interference.