The East Coast Inshore Fin Fishery is the largest and most complex fishery in Queensland waters. The fishery extends
from Cape York to the Qld/NSW border and includes protected marine areas such as Moreton Bay, the Great Sandy Straits and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP).
The fishery targets barramundi (key species in the GBRMP), threadfin salmon, small mackerel, and tropical sharks.
In December 2007 a number of changes to the fishery were proposed by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries. These included reducing the current annual total catch limit of 900t for sharks to be reduced to 700t per year.
What are the issues?
Shark fishing is unsustainable
- Targeted shark fishing is unsustainable because sharks are generally long lived, slow-growing and have low reproductive rates so they are vulnerable to overfishing.
- According to the CRC Reef Research Centre many shark fisheries throughout the world have collapsed as fishers try to meet increasing Asian market demand for shark fin.
- Sharks are top order predators and play an important role in marine ecosystems. Fewer sharks in areas like the Great Barrier Reef would have a significant impact on the entire ecosystem.
- The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has stated that there should not be a shark fishery as it cannot be clearly demonstrated that it is selective and sustainable. WPSQ supports the GBRMPA proposal that no targeted killing should be allowed for sharks and rays.
Bycatch threatens at-risk species
Gill-nets used by the fishery do not discriminate in what they catch.
- Bycatch of non-target species in gill-nets set to catch fish such as barramundi and threadfin salmon is the greatest area of concern on the inshore fishery.
- As well as other species of fish, nets entangle species such as dugongs and turtles.
Wildlife Queensland in action
Wildlife Queensland believes Australia should not support this unsustainable and unethical practice of catching sharks for their fins.
Wildlife Queensland wants shark fishing banned in Queensland waters.
Wildlife Queensland commented on the East Coast Inshore Fin Fishery review in early 2008 and has written the Hon Tim Mulherin MP and Hon Peter Garrett MP expressing members’ concerns and drawing attention to the issues on sharks.
For more information on Wildlife Queensland’s campaigns, email or phone +61 (7) 3221 0194.
Wildlife Queensland – September 2008