Fishing ban lift may end species

REPORTS the new Minister for Primary Industries will lift fishing bans in the breeding grounds of the critically endangered grey nurse shark near South West Rocks could mean the end of this spectacular natural treasure, according to Greens MP and marine spokesperson Cate Faehrmann.

“The grey nurse shark is so critically endangered that every single death is significant for the survival of the species. Accidental hooking from fishing activity causes a significant number of deaths,” Ms Faehrmann said.

“The Premier should immediately rein in the primary industries minister, who clearly needs a 101 lesson in threatened species management.

“The grey nurse shark was once called the ‘labrador of the ocean’ by Bob Carr because it is harmless, despite its fierce appearance.

“As such, they are a big attraction for divers and provide a boost to regional communities in the form of tourism dollars.”

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW has also condemned the new decision to wind back vital protection for the animal, naming Fish Rock and Green Island among the most important critical habitat areas for grey nurse sharks on the east coast of Australia.

“Minister Hodgkinson’s roll back of safeguards at Fish Rock and Green Island leave behind totally inadequate measures for the ongoing protection of critically endangered grey nurse sharks,” chief executive officer Pepe Clarke said.

“Each day of delay for strong protection measures presents an unacceptable risk that another grey nurse shark will be killed or injured.”

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