November 15, 2013
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, congratulated New Zealand on following suit by working towards banning the cruel practice of shark finning.
Senator Colbeck said the practice of removing shark fins and discarding the shark at sea was cruel and not tolerated. He said Australia began the fight against shark finning 13 years ago and the practice was now illegal in all Commonwealth, state and territory managed fisheries.
Senator Colbeck said a recent media release by the Australian Greens, which called for the Australian Government to end shark finning practices, showed a complete and utter lack of understanding of Australian fisheries.
"The Greens are trying to mislead the Australian public by spreading false information about our fisheries. Shark finning is not only abhorrent, but it is also against the law in our fisheries," Senator Colbeck said.
"I am pleased to see New Zealand release its draft National Plan of Action where they are committing to ban shark finning.
"Australia has set an example for the rest of the world and it's only through an international commitment that we can see the end of this practice."
Senator Colbeck said Australia had agreed to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation's International Plan of Action for the conservation and management of sharks.
"Our fishing industry is recognised as being among the most environmentally responsible in the world, so the Australian community can be assured our sharks are sustainably and humanely harvested," he said
"Australia continues to play a leading role in the Pacific region in sustainable fisheries management and we welcome the actions of our New Zealand neighbours as we continue to take action to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices."
A number of threatened shark and ray species have additional protection under the Australian Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, including whale sharks, white sharks, grey nurse sharks, freshwater sharks and some species of sawfish.