Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Shark anglers await details of ban

It appears Australia’s recreational shark anglers can do little but await the final details of a controversial shark fishing ban set to be in place by the end of next month. A state of limbo too may exist for the upcoming season’s game fishing tournaments, at least until Environment Minister Peter Garrett releases the final details of the ban and its full impact on game fishing becomes known.

As Fisho had previously reported the ban applies to the taking of – or retaining of – porbeagle sharks and short and longfin makos from Commonwealth waters – a zone that extends from 3 to the 200 nautical mile limit of the exclusiveeconomic zone, or the edge of the continental shelf (which may extendbeyond the 200nm limit).
The ban is the result of the shark species’ listing on an international migratory species protectiontreaty that has seen federal Environment Minister PeterGarrett being forced to ban fishing for makos underinternational obligations under the Convention for the Conservation ofMigratory Species treaty.

Don Goswell, President of the NSW Game Fishing Association – whose members are arguably the largest group affected by the ban – told Fisho early this week he is “hopping mad and very disappointed” by the development. He is urging all game fishers to contact their local members and voice their disapproval. 

Goswell, like many game anglers affected, is very disappointed about not being notified of the ban earlier by government department DEWHA. As a result he says, the NSWGFA and other GFA affiliates have had little time to notify their members, push for consultation with government or simply voice any opposition. 

Recfish CEO Len Olyott says it is apparent that fishing for makos in State waters may constitute a “significant impact”, particularly if it involves injuring or killing the sharks.

Olyott says “Recfish Australia will be looking into arrangements that will allow legal fishing for makos to continue. Clearly, there is some recognition that commercial fishing where makos are taken (as bycatch) will be allowed to continue.”

Olyott adds that a proposed CITES listing of hammerheads, dusky and sandbar sharks and oceanic white-tips is also to be discussed in March 2010. More information is available via a link at: www.recfish.com.au

Fisho’s Environment Editor John Newbery is also still awaiting official word from a federal government source as to the final details of the ban that comes into effect at the end of next month.

Fisho will keep you up to date with any further developments.

Update 18/12/09: 

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) has released a fact sheet which outlines how charter boat operators, game fishers and rec anglers will be affected by the migratory shark listing. The wording basically states purposely tag and release fishing for the listed sharks will not be permitted. An excerpt from the fact sheet states:

Charter boat operators, game fishers and recreational fishers
Following the listing of the three shark species as migratory, the taking or keeping of porbeagle, shortfin or longfin mako sharks in the Commonwealth marine area will not be allowed.
It will not be permitted to target the three species. If the taking, killing or injuring of the shark is the result of an unavoidable accident, not caused by negligence or recklessness, it is not an offence under the EPBC Act. If the shark is alive it must be released without any further harm. It will be permissible to tag an accidentally caught shark prior to release, provided the tagging is done in a way so as to avoid further injury. The Department
of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts is developing further guidance on this matter.
If the shark is not alive it must still be released, as retaining the shark is not permitted.
There is a requirement to notify the Secretary of the Department of the Environment, Water,
Heritage and the Arts within seven days if a shark (which is a member of a listed migratory species)
has been taken, injured or killed. Failure to do so is an offence punishable by a fine of up to $11,000
(100 penalty units) for individuals.
Contact details for reporting are available at

The complete fact sheet can be downloaded here




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