WWF Calls for Shark Conservation
Based on data from the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service, the Worldwide Fund for Nature today said hundreds of metric tons of shark fins are being exported annually from Australia, mainly to Asian markets.
The conservation group estimates the amount is equivalent to 10,000 adult sharks and is asking the Queensland Government to dismiss a proposal to issue shark-fishing licenses and make conservation a priority.
"Start protecting places like Osprey Reed out in the Coral Sea, one of the few places in the world where sharks come in large numbers, they aggregate there," says WWF's Dr. Gilly Llewellyn. "Another key action that we're calling for is that we want the Queensland Government to shelve its plans for creating a shark fishery literally in the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area."
The government denies the proposed changes to fishing licenses would create a dedicated shark fishery, but rather says it aims to reduce the amount of shark being taken from Australian waters.
"Currently there's around 1,400 licenses that can be utilized to take shark in Queensland waters. The proposal is to reduce that to 200 licenses and restrict the catch to a precautionary level of 700 [metric tons]," says Mark Lightowler of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries.