Call to stop fishing for endangered hammerhead
ALL fishing for the endangered scalloped hammerhead shark should stop immediately, until the Territory commits to a raft of conservation measures, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
The shark qualified to be listed as "endangered" last year, but the independent Threatened Species Scientific Committee agreed to a lesser listing of "conservation dependent" when the NT and Queensland governments pledged to undertake a range of steps to ensure the species' sustainability.
But with the 18 month implementation period over, several of those conditions have not been met.
A report authored by former Australian Fisheries Maangment Authority executive manager Dr Nick Rayns found fishing for the scalloped hammerhead should cease.
"Scalloped hammerhead sharks are currently being caught by commercial fishers thanks to a conservation dependent listing but the promised key steps to improve protection for the species have not all been put in place," he said.
"Those key steps include cross validating data from logbooks using electronic monitoring or observers on boats and the introduction of laws to make sure shark fins are not cut off before landing the shark on shore.
"Without these basic fisheries management rules an endangered species is being put at further risk."
AMCS fisheries campaign manager Tooni Mahto said the Territory had failed to deliver on its promise.
"Queensland and the Northern Territory have had 18 months to follow the recommendations of the scientists, and have failed in their responsibilities," she said.
"This report shows a string of broken promises for the conservation of scalloped hammerhead sharks. Until this is fixed, the Queensland and Northern Territory governments need to stop allowing commercial fishers to catch them. Fisheries Minister Paul Kirby was contacted for comment.