Following up from reports on the future of shark fishing in Australia, in a dramatic development fishing for makos is set to be banned in Commonwealth waters from the end of next month.
In our last update on this story Fisho was told meetings were being held to discuss possible bans or restrictions on fishing for mako sharks. Early this month we broke the story that federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett could be forced to ban all fishing for makos under international obligations under the Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species treaty.
Fisho has since been informed that the porbeagle, shortfin mako and longfin mako will be listed as migratory species as of the end of January 2010, a listing that will have implications for game fishers, charter operators and commercial fishing operations.
Under the EPBC Act it is prohibited to kill, injure or take members of a listed migratory species in Commonwealth waters. This means that, following the listing of the three shark species as migratory, it will not be permitted for recreational, charter or game fishers to take porbeagle, shortfin or longfin mako in Commonwealth waters, or to retain them if they are caught in Commonwealth waters. Commonwealth waters extend from 3 to the 200 nautical mile limit of the exclusive economic zone, or the edge of the continental shelf (which may extend beyond the 200 nm limit).
Fisho is unsure at this stage if C&R fishing for makos will be allowed under this treaty obligation. Either way, it looks as though a popular Aussie gamefishery is now pretty much off limits, at least as far as “taking” makos. The big concern now is whether this sort of international treaty can be extended to other fish such as tuna and marlin.
More on this issue as it comes to hand.