World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Global check finds unique sharks are heading to extinction

An assessment by the world's leading authority on threatened species has shown two sharks unique to Australia have moved closer to extinction - a trend the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and Humane Society International (HSI) say needs to be tackled with urgent bans on fishing the species.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says the greeneye spurdog is now "Endangered” and the whitefin swellshark is now "Critically Endangered” when both had previously been categorised as "Near Threatened”. Both are only found in southern Australian waters. The major cause of these declines is commercial fishing.

The assessment by the IUCN included 41 Australian sharks and rays with some six species that swim in Australian waters having their global threat categorically raised.

Dr Leonardo Guida, AMCS Senior Shark Campaigner, said: "Sharks have been in our oceans for around 450 million years and have withstood five of the earth's extinction events - they deserve our respect and care.

"We know relatively little about our unique deepwater sharks like the greeneye spurdog and whitefin swellshark - there's a real risk we could lose them before we even get a chance to know them. For example, there are no rules at all relating to whitefin swellshark - either in how they're fished or protected.

"This crucial work by scientists at IUCN is a clear signal that we are not doing enough to protect our sharks and rays.”

Lawrence Chlebeck, Marine Campaigner at HSI, said: "We have the capacity and the resources to do more for our sharks in Australia. We learnt a few weeks ago in the government's Shark Report Card that several species in Australian waters are recovering because of changes to the way we fish.”

Later this week, HSI will submit scientific nominations to the Federal government for the protection of whitefin swellshark and other lesser known species including the critically endangered longnose skate, the endangered grey skate, and the endangered narrow sawfish. If approved these listings will secure federal protection for the species and require their recovery.

Chlebeck added: "The worsening conservation status of the whitefin swellshark to Critically Endangered is a perfect example of the threat to Australia's shark and ray biodiversity. A beautiful, bottom-dwelling species is being fished out of existence before most of us even knew its name. We need to identify and protect lesser known species under threat such as the whitefin swellshark, and the greeneye spurdog before it's too late.”

Dr Guida added: "We are calling on the Australian government to take urgent action and stop any fishing for these endangered species, and ban fishing in critical areas.”

In early March, AMCS and HSI together launched its Shark Champions campaign to build an army of advocates for the welfare and conservation of sharks and rays across Australia. For more information visit sharkchampions.org.au.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid-19: WHO Reports Largest Single Day Increase In Cases

The World Health Organization ( WHO ) reported the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases over the course of Sunday, registering more than 183,000 new infections in 24 hours, bringing the total to some 8.8 million cases worldwide, with more than ... More>>

China: National Security Law Must Not Become A Weapon Of Fear

Responding to today’s passing of a national security law for Hong Kong by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, the head of Amnesty International’s China Team, Joshua Rosenzweig, said: 'The passing of the national ... More>>

UN: Syrians ‘face Unprecedented Hunger Amid Impending COVID Crisis’

© UNICEF/Delil Souleiman | A young boy photographed at Al-Hol refugee camp in the northeastern desert of Syria. (July 2019) Syrian communities devastated by years of civil war now face an “unprecedented” hunger crisis, just as urgent action ... More>>

Israel/OPT: Annexation Plan Promotes ‘Law Of The Jungle’ And Must Be Stopped

The Israeli authorities must immediately abandon plans to further 'annex' territory in the occupied West Bank which breach international laws and exacerbate decades of systematic human rights violations against Palestinians there, Amnesty ... More>>