According to the Australian Marine Conservation, 97% of sharks culled over a 12 month period were considered to be at some level of conservation risk.
This is a major issue, as half of the world’s shark species live in Australian waters. If Australia continues on the path of culling, there will be very significant damage to the global population of sharks.
Sharks are long-lived, slow growing and late to reach maturity and reproductive age. This means that it takes sharks a long time to recover from over-exploitation.
“About one-third of all open-water species of sharks are facing the prospect of extinction, an international report reveals. The at-risk list includes great white and hammerhead sharks.” – The Age
According to Australian Marine Conservation in Queensland’s culling system, over a 12-month period, 667 endangered and critically-endangered sharks, including great whites and grey nurse sharks were killed. In NSW’s culling between 1950 and 2008, 577 great white sharks and 352 tiger sharks were caught in shark control nets. 377 of the now critically endangered gentle grey nurse sharks were also killed, a number which threatens their future survival.
Australia’s east-coast population of grey nurses is now at a staggeringly low number of just 1000.
Aside from the moral obligation to prevent the extinction of a species, sharks are also extremely important in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems. Removal of sharks will disrupt this equilibrium, having major consequences for other species and even significantly adding to the issue of climate change. For more on this, stay tuned for upcoming blog posts.
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