The New South Wales Conservation Council in Australia says that the grey nurse shark is teetering on the edge of extinction because of commercial and recreational fishing.
The council is calling for 1.5 kilometre sanctuary zones in 16 key areas along the state’s coastline.
The council’s Megan Kessler says there are only 500 of the fish left on the east coast of Australia and they need to be protected.
“We’ve recently seen evidence that the population will become extinct within our lifetime if we don’t stop all forms of human caused deaths, now that’s commercial fishing, recreational fishing and also beach netting [in] key habitat areas,” she said.
She says many sharks die because they are released with fishhooks in their mouths or are caught in trawler nets.
“Obviously when you’re out fishing you can’t see what it is you’re catching and pulling up and so we do find that fishermen will catch them on occasion and when they release them they don’t survive.
“The other problem is that fisherman will often not recognise juvenile grey nurse sharks and so aren’t aware that they’ve caught a threatened species.”