Australian programme protects sharks and seals

The Australian Federal Government has launched a program to help preserve shark and seal species off the Australian coast. The Government has pledged $720,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust for the initiative that is a key part of Seaweek from March 6 to 13

The program will include education and awareness campaigns for fisherman to prevent the capture of wildlife species.

Environment and heritage minister Ian Campbell said the funding would be used to address shark bycatch and identification issues, focusing on a national shark education and awareness raising strategy.

“This new work will raise national awareness of the role sharks play in the broader marine ecosystem and the vulnerability of particular sharks species and critical habitat areas,” Senator Campbell said.

“Some of the funding would be used to develop a national coordinated strategy to manage interactions between seals and humans.”

Fisheries and conservation minister Ian Macdonald said some of the sharks around Australia such as the grey nurse species are particularly vulnerable at the present time and “we really do have to alert the public’s attention to this”.

He said it was important for fishermen and the general public to know how to preserve existing species.

“Various organisations will be working directly with fishermen to show them how to avoid sharks and show them how to release sharks when they are caught and, by and large across the board, try to raise awareness of the importance of the shark species to our marine ecosystem,” Senator Macdonald said.

Source: Daily Telegraph Australia