Sunday, February 1, 2015

Australia Fails Sharks Once Again

Greetings everyone. I hope all is well with all of you. Wow February already huh? So on the eve of the Superbowl I have finally gathered my thoughts for this blog. About a week/ week and a half ago or so, news began breaking that Australia would be backing out of it's commitment to protect 5 species of shark. Back in November of 2014, Australia agreed to protect 2 species of hammerhead and 3 species of thresher shark that migrate through Australian waters. This agreement was signed at the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS). Suddenly the Australian Government had a change of heart and decided that these protections are simply not needed as the fishing of these species is already regulated.

While that is the case (Australia is one of the world leaders in conservation), it seems that this move is mostly a political one. By that I mean that this backing out is a result of fishermen pressure who like to commercially or for recreation, hunt these animals. The agreement would see those who caught the 5 species as a target or bycatch slapped with heavy fines and even jail time. So here's what I think about this apparent reservation Australia has...

I really do feel that the government of Australia has bowed not only to the recreational fishermen, but moreso the commercial fishermen. With seemingly endless and indiscriminate ways to catch mass amounts of fish at one time, the chances of bycatch is high. Long line fishing, gill nets, etc etc etc have all caught different species of shark throughout the course of history as bycatch. Under this new agreement those responsible for that bycatch would have to pay a heavy penalty if I am understanding correctly. Obviously the commercial fishermen don't want to have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars. At the same time, Australia decided to protect it's commercial fishing practices as they are now rather than revise them in order to help an international agreement to protect these 5 species of shark. Just another day in the land of Oz where more and more, the government really seems to just miss the boat sort to speak with sharks as of late...

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