Australian fishers

The Australian Marine Conservation Authority says Northern Territory fishermen cannot escape blame for depleting shark numbers off the north Australian coast.

The authority says the introduction of laws which force fishermen to bring the whole shark ashore rather than just filling boats with fins has helped reduce catches.

But the authority’s Adele Pedder says the shark population has dipped to dangerously low levels.

She says both Indonesian and Australian fishermen have been spurred on by the high prices for shark fin.

“It’s fuelling a huge amount of fishing of the Arafura and the Timor seas where there is a higher biodiversity value in those sharks,” she said.

“But of course it’s not just the Indonesian fishers that are fishing them, it’s the Australian fishers.”