Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Humane Society International: Ban Shark Fishing in Australia

AUSTRALIA’S campaign director for Humane Society International, Michael Kennedy, has called for a nationwide ban on shark fishing.

Despite steps taken in the US last week to reduce the number of sharks killed through finning - where the valuable fins of sharks are cut off and the still live shark was tossed back into the sea to die slowly of asphyxiation - Mr Kennedy said it’s not enough.

Instead, he has proposed an “indefinite” ban on shark fishing. Mr Kennedy believes such a ban should stay in place until sufficient research was done to detail any fluctuation in shark populations.

“I think you’ve got to be that tough,” Mr Kennedy told The Manly Daily.

“Unless you’re tough now there won’t be any sharks in the future.”

But Mr Kennedy, who works at the society’s Avalon-based office, applauded US President Barack Obama for signing Tuesday’s bipartisan bill requiring sharks were brought to land with their fins.

This means that fewer sharks would be killed solely for their fins, because vessels holding catches would have less room to store shark fins if regulations mandate that whole sharks be landed with their fins naturally attached.

Australia and most states and territories ban finning, and some require that sharks be landed with their fins naturally attached.

States and territories govern their own waters, which extend to three nautical miles offshore. The Commonwealth regulates waters from three to 200 nautical miles offshore.

Published in the Manly Daily on January 11, 2011

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