Conservationists buy culling licence
WWF Australia has bought a shark hunting licence with the express intention of not using it.
The licence cost $100,000 and includes a 1.2 kilometre net, but it will be used to reduce the unnecessary deaths of the increasingly-rare sea creatures.
“Hammerhead sharks are literally getting hammered out there,” WWF conservation director Gilly Llewellyn told the ABC.
“We have a chance to ... help save some of those sharks.
“This will also prevent dugongs, turtles and dolphins being killed as by-catch, and help the reef heal after the worst coral bleaching in its history.”
The commercial shark haul from the Great Barrier Reef increased from 222 tonnes in 2014 to 402 tonnes in 2015, Queensland Government figures show, which Ms Llewellyn says equated to 100,000 sharks.
The Federal Government is considering listing some types of hammerheads as threatened species, but not a lot of progress has been made on that front.
“This is a shot across the bow to the management authorities and to the Australian Government that we believe they should be protected,” Ms Llewellyn said.
The licence purchased by the WWF has not been used since 2004, leading some to suggest its removal will not make a big difference.
But Ms Llewellyn said it could.
“Someone could buy it tomorrow and go fishing with it in a couple of months' time and it could be catching sharks again,” she said.