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Garrett Wants Review Of Fin Fishery


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Garrett wants review of fin fishery

Environmentalists will seek a ban on shark takes under proposed new management arrangements for a fin fishery operating off Queensland's coast.

The East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery, which targets barramundi, bream and other fish species, ranges from Cape York in the north to the NSW border in the south and includes the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

An independent review of proposed changes to the fishery was announced on Monday by federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett, following talks with Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin on its impact on shark stocks and potential interactions with protected species, particularly dugongs, whales and sawfish.

Currently 900 tonnes of shark can be caught a year by 1,400 commercial fishers and are usually caught in nets with a range of other species.

Proposed changes would give less than 200 commercial fishers a special licence to fish for 700 tonnes of shark annually.

"Concerns have been raised by a variety of groups, including the scientific community, about shark fishing and about species protected under the EPBC Act, including dugong," Mr Garrett said on Monday.

"I want to be assured that the World Heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef are adequately protected."

WWF-Australia spokesman Nick Heath said the organisation accepted sharks would be caught in fishing nets but would make a submission to the review seeking a ban on specifically targeting sharks.

"We think the science would support a very serious consideration of banning shark take," Mr Heath said.

He said sharks formed a vital part of the ecosystem and were very sensitive to overfishing.

"They take a long time to mature and they only breed rarely so they're like whales," he said.

"They can be overfished too easily and currently sharks are being placed on the endangered list all over the world".

Mr Heath said shark fishing was being driven by the cheap meat market and a global shark finning trade.

"So they're basically being killed for their fins to go in soup and they're magnificent animals," he said.

"We just don't think that's a just end for a beautiful shark - just to be killed for soup."

Mr Mulherin welcomed the review and defended the proposed changes, which he said would limit the number of commercial fishers allowed to take shark and establish more stringent reporting regime for shark fishing, protecting vulnerable species.

The review will be conducted by a panel chaired by CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research deputy chief John Gunn, who has 25 years experience in marine ecology and fisheries science.

It will look at the proposed management arrangements for the fishery, providing recommendations to ensure compliance with the Act.

The review will assist a coming assessment of the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), due by the end of October.

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Unfortunately the dollar chasers (the poor and neady) don't necessarily have the moral ethics that an educated recreational fisherman might.

Here in the Solomons, shark fin "A" grade (300mm or over) is fetching about AUD$200.00 per Kg.

As long as worldwide (Hong Kong) demands are such, sustainable fishing in third world countries will never be a reality. Even the local market (Chinese) purchase sharks fin at these insane prices and encourage the locals to rape and pillage the local environment.

For example - a lemon shark (has 8 fins) can fetch an indiginous local up to AUD$1,000.00 for the fins alone. This is equivalent of more than 1 years salary for a general labourer.

Would you let your family starve, and or be denied an education for the sake of 1 shark. Definately a dilemma - try preaching ethics to the uneducated and poor.

I am only exposing the reality - I reserve my opinion.

Look at the consumers - it could possibly be stopped there. As long as there is a demand for any substance, be it ivory, sharks fin or gorilla paws, the desperate, uneducated "grass roots" indiginous population don't have to make a big descision - cultivate or desist!!!

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