A BILL to ban the sale of shark fin products in Western Australia was tabled in State Parliament on June 5. In an effort to protect worldwide shark populations, Southwest Greens MLC Diane Evers’ Shark Fin Prohibition Bill proposes fines up to $250,000.
Shark finning is an offence under federal and most state fisheries regulations, including WA.
The practice involves removing fins from live sharks and returning the animals to the ocean, where they drown. It is believed that thousands of kilograms of shark fins are imported into Australia each year via loopholes in existing regulations.
Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) fisheries spokesperson, has been vocal in the past about the harmful effects of baited shark drumline trials in the State’s southern waters, and said that the Bill would go some way towards removing threats to open-water shark populations. ‘The Bill is an important step in our work towards ending the inhumane and wasteful practice of shark finning,’ Ms Evers said. ‘The international community recognises that shark finning damages species and ecosystems, and that consuming shark fin products provides no scientifically proven health benefits.’ Ms Evers said that private individuals making or consuming food containing fins would not fall foul of the Bill’s offence provisions, so long as the product was originally obtained as a whole shark.