Healthy oceans are an important part of a sustainable environment, and something many Australians feel passionately about. Many iconic species of shark, whale and fish are under threat.
The Australian east coast grey nurse shark is critically endangered, with populations so low some sharks may not be able to find mates. Critically endangered is one step away from "extinct in the wild" on the International Union for Conservation Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
Sharks grow slowly, mature late and produce few young - small mortalities threaten the species' survival. Yet despite Department of Primary Industries evidence that bottom-line fishing injures grey nurse sharks at Fish Rock and Green Island where they aggregate throughout the year, fishing restriction in these sites were removed in April. The State Government also put a moratorium on any new marine reserves.
I have questioned the Government about this issue in Parliament. Extensive evidence shows that protected marine reserves help regenerate fish numbers and sizes. This year in Parliament I will push for reinstatement of grey nurse shark protections.