Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Australian government seeks to opt out of protection of five shark species

Tuesday 20 January 2015 02.08 GMT

The Australian government has been accused of an unprecedented reversal of its international conservation obligations by seeking to opt out of the protection of five shark species.

The government is submitting a “reservation” against three species of thresher shark and two species of hammerhead shark listed as protected migratory species under the UN-administered convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals.

The five types of shark were among 31 species granted new protection status at a convention summit in November. A record 21 species of shark, ray and sawfish were included, along with polar bears, whales and gazelles.

Although Australia did not object to the listings in November, it is now seeking to opt out of the commitment to cooperate with other countries to ensure the five migratory shark species do not become extinct. The expanded list is due to come into effect on 8 February.

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