Tuesday, March 14, 2006

New Zealand moves towards protecting great white sharks

New Zealand is gearing up to protect the great white shark, its Conservation Minister has confirmed. Chris Carter has released a discussion document that asks for opinions on protecting New Zealand's great white sharks protection.

"Great white sharks are the celebrity predators of the ocean," said Mr Carter. "They are an object of fear and fascination, but sadly there is growing evidence that this magnificent and rare species is in trouble internationally. "In 2000, great whites sharks were listed as 'globally vulnerable' on the International Red List of Threatened Species, amid fears that accidental catch in some commercial and recreational fisheries is having a significant impact on numbers.

"Like many other top predators, populations of great whites tend to be small and lack the elasticity to withstand external pressures, such as fishing and environmental change."Scientists believe that the population of great whites in New Zealand is the same as those in Australia, which already protects the species. New Zealand fishermen do not target white sharks but do take them as part of bycatch when targeting other species.The discussion document is available to download from www.doc.govt.nz


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