Environment Minister Peter Garrett today introduced a new bill into the House of Representatives to allow the continuation of recreational fishing of mako and porbeagle sharks.
Garrett said the amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) provide for a balance between protecting the shark species in a way that reflects our national circumstances and does not disproportionately affect recreational fishers.
“The recent listing of mako and porbeagle sharks under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), which was based primarily on concerns for northern hemisphere populations, meant that they automatically had to be protected under the national environment law.
“However, with a lack of evidence to suggest that Australian populations of these shark species face the same threats as other parts of the world, and as there would be no demonstrably significant conservation benefit from banning recreational fishing for these species, the Government is acting to ensure that recreational fishers can continue to catch these sharks,” Garrett said.
The minister went on to say the Environment Department had been working with fishing tournament organisers to enable events to proceed in the interim period since January 29 when the listing of the species took effect. The Government had also indicated that catch and release fishing for the shark species was not expected to have a significant impact on populations and was therefore unlikely to be subject to enforcement action.
The Environment Department is also working with fishery managers to improve data on mako and porbeagle sharks in Australian waters, to provide a more comprehensive information base on these shark species for the future.