STOP THE SENSELESS SLAUGHTER OF BABY SHARKS
STOP THE SENSELESS SLAUGHTER OF BABY SHARKS
Why this petition matters
OBJECTIVE: Ban the killing of Port Jackson Sharks in South Australia. Prohibit the unnecessary slaughter of unwanted catch, including harmless baby Port Jackson Sharks in Port Noarlunga (Adelaide, Australia) and SA waters; in order to protect and preserve their role in the marine ecosystem, their value to local South Australian and worldwide tourism communities, and enforce the principles of responsible and best practice fishing, and marine stewardship.
STOP THE KILLING:
Port Jackson sharks are termed "Puppies of the Sea" and are iconic residents of the many jetties and inshore waters around South Australia. These beautiful creatures are much loved and highly regarded by the local community. Tourists, divers, snorkelers, anglers and all types of people come to see these harmless animals.
But distressingly these animals are being found dead underneath our jetties, and washing up dead on beaches. Some that are caught are either needlessly killed or near fatally injured and discarded.
Some are brutally stabbed in the head and left to die a slow agonising death.
PROTECT OUR SHARKS:
The Port Jackson shark nursery is a unique phenomenon in the metropolitan waters of Gulf St Vincent (Australia). The Port Jackson shark is a migratory species and these sharks use Port Noarlunga, Christies Beach, Aldinga and surrounding inshore rocky reefs as a seasonal breeding areas, and year-round nursery areas.
It is rare for shark breeding aggregation sites and nursery areas to be in such accessible waters. Both the aggregations of adult Port Jackson sharks during spring and the nursery field of babies have significant value to the SCUBA diving, snorkelling and local communities. Port Noarlunga is one of the 3 premier SCUBA diving destinations in South Australia, and is of significant economic and social value for SCUBA dive training, diving tours, and recreational diving and thus the local community. Recreational divers meet and dive the iconic “Porties” almost every week of every year. Many hundreds of divers visit the site each year, and thousands of school children learn to swim and snorkel at this beautiful location. Watching PJ sharks in their natural habitat is one of the many environmental attractions of in-water experiences at Port Noarlunga. The Port Jackson shark is an emerging icon of these waters.
It takes Port Jackson sharks 8 to 10 years of living before they are old enough to breed. This makes them more vulnerable to species threat and our rays share this vulnerability. The sharks have important ecological roles in controlling prey species (urchins, crabs etc), and the shark eggs are important food sources for fishes, rays and other animals. Port Jackson sharks help to keep sea floor sediments healthy and oxygenated, when they search the sandy floor near the reef for invertebrate foods.
CURRENT REGULATIONS ARE NOT WORKING:
PIRSA (South Australia's recreational fishing regulator) has published guidelines for safe and respectful shark and ray handling, when these species are caught. Some people release sharks carefully if they are accidentally hooked and caught. However, some others are not adhering to the guidelines, and are deliberately harming these young sharks when they are caught.
Jetty users have observed sharks being stabbed in the head, or having their throat slashed before being thrown back in the water.
It is currently legal to kill these incredible animals with no animal welfare protections in place for Sharks and Rays in South Australia, and as unlisted fish species, there is NO bag limit in place for the Port Jackson sharks. This includes also NO PROTECTIONS for our beautiful rays, the Smooth Ray, the Eagle Ray, the Fiddler Ray and also some species of sharks.
It is illegal to throw certain types of burley into water off jetties, yet divers have observed burley bags and dying injured young sharks in the water. These injured sharks could be considered a form of illegally burleying the water, like bone and offal.
Stabbed baby sharks remain alive, paralysed and slowly dying on the sea floor for many hours, extending to days.
Divers have observed head-stabbed sharks gradually dying on the sea floor, right near the boundary of the Marine Sanctuary Zone (a zone that is meant to protect ALL reef animals).
Three stabbed baby Port Jackson sharks were photographed and filmed by divers on 9th April 2022. The sharks had likely been stabbed the previous evening or very early that morning by someone who caught them and threw them back in the water. The sharks were observed at 9.30am immobile on the sea floor, with laboured breathing and unable to move. The head-stabbed sharks were still in the same position, still alive and unable to move in the late afternoon that day.
This is not a new problem. Dating back to 2013 divers have found both dying and dead mutilated sharks and rays WITHIN the Port Noarlunga marine sanctuary zone.
Divers have also observed both dying and dead rays (e.g. Fiddler rays, Eagle Rays Shovelnose rays and more) with head stab wounds, and others with wing flaps cut off. They have also been spotted washed up on our South Australian beaches.
WE ARE PETITIONING TO:
1. Ban the killing or deliberate harm of our unwanted catch, in Port Noarlunga and wider South Australian marine waters. Ensuring South Australian Sharks and Rays are treated respectfully.
2. Post signage on boat ramps and jetties informing people of bans and penalties of non-compliance.
3. Educate South Australian anglers on current fishing gear regulations, handling techniques and catch-release techniques.
4. Better monitor Port Noarlunga Jetty and key areas in South Australia where these animals live.
This petition will be submitted to the Minister for Environment, PIRSA, Fisheries and all key leaders of our current government of South Australia