Help Protect Australia's Grey Nurse Sharks

The grey nurse shark is Critically Endangered along Australia's east coast. New South Wales Government is asking us how important we think it is to protect grey nurse sharks. Project AWARE has made a submission saying we think it is vitally important. Will you add your voice to help protect Australia’s grey nurse sharks?

Please take a few moments to help protect these amazing animals. For more information look herefor a discussion paper that outlines the issues. You will also find herethe submission form and instructions. 

If you need assistance please contact david.roe@projectaware.org.au. Also if possible please forward your submission to us, or tell us you have made a submission so we can understand your views on grey nurse shark protection. 

Here's an example submission. You just can use this, add your own comments or write your personalize submission. 

As a keen scuba diver I have become alarmed at recent developments in marine protection in NSW including the removal of newly introduced sanctuary zones in the Solitary Islands and Jervis Bay Marine Parks, the five-year moratorium on new marine parks and the handing over of marine park management to the Department of Primary Industries. I am also very concerned for the grey nurse sharks and call on the NSW Government to put in place greater protection for these critically endangered animals. 

The NSW State and Australian Federal Governments both classify grey nurse sharks as critically endangered to becoming extinct on the east coast of Australia. That is how high the stakes are in this issue and avoiding this outcome should be the only consideration when developing management strategies.

Sharks contribute greatly to healthy marine environments and local economies. Research has shown that reefs with a healthy shark population have a greater abundance of other fish species and that those fish are bigger than on reefs with fewer sharks. 

Through my diving I support businesses and jobs in regional NSW. As a diver I want to see healthy reefs with many fish and sharks. In fact seeing large sharks is one of the main reasons I dive.

Recent research has resulted in two important findings: the east coast population of grey nurse sharks is at a dangerously low level, and fishing has a major impact on shark numbers. That grey nurse sharks are at risk from fishing has been recognised in restrictions to commercial fishing. This recognition now needs to be applied to recreational fishing.

I call on the NSW Government to increase protection for grey nurse sharks by creating a network of large no-take marine sanctuaries around designated critical habitats and recognised aggregation zones. These regulations should be applied to new aggregation zones as they are discovered. No-take sanctuaries need to be large enough to allow the grey nurse shark to repopulate without risk of injury or death from fishing activities. 

No-take sanctuaries will protect other species in addition to the grey nurse shark. They are recognised internationally as being of primary importance in maintaining a healthy marine environment and they have been shown to enable fish stocks to recover after heavy over-fishing.

NSW is behind in its obligations to create no-take marine sanctuaries. Only 6.7% of NSW marine waters are protected from extractive activities such as fishing. That gives fishers access to 93.3% of NSW waters. This is an unreasonably high level of access considering that NSW marine waters are commonly owned by all NSW citizens. Scientists agree that 20% of each marine ecosystem should be protected as a minimum to ensure a healthy ocean.

By creating a network of large no-take sanctuaries the NSW Government will give the grey nurse shark a fighting chance and ensure that recreational fishing continues for future generations. With the current low level of protection given to these animals we are at risk of seeing the end of the grey nurse shark in NSW waters. 

I call on the NSW Government to increase protection for grey nurse sharks by creating a network of large no-take marine sanctuaries around designated critical habitats and recognised aggregation zones.