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Panda HQ © Olly Freeman / WWF

WWF Sydney office, panda HQ © WWF-Aus / Olly Freeman

Panda Memoranda: WWF's week in review

22 Jul 2016

  • dolphins
  • sharks
  • tree-clearing
Making news this week: WWF aims to buy second commercial shark fishing licence; Productivity Commission report on agriculture regulation; WWF welcomes the appointment of Josh Frydenberg as Environment and Energy Minister; and more...


WWF aims to buy second commercial shark fishing licence

WWF-Australia’s unique conservation approach – to buy and retire a $100,000 shark fishing licence on the Great Barrier Reef – has captured the imagination of people around the world and could lead to the purchase of a second licence.

“We asked for donations and we have been blown away by the response. People from more than 30 countries have reached into their pockets. We’re impressed, surprised and grateful,” said WWF-Australia conservation director Gilly Llewellyn.

WWF-Australia will now try to raise $200,000 in total to purchase and retire a second N4 licence that is up for sale. This second licence caught more than 280,000 kg of shark between 1999 and 2006. 

“By preventing both licences from returning to shark fishing we can save about 20,000 sharks each year, including endangered hammerheads,” Dr Llewellyn said.

The story has made headline around Australia and the world, including via ABC TV and online, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, ABC Radio, Channel 7, Australian Geographic, Fishing World, The Courier-Mail, The NT News, The Cairns Post and many regional papers around the country.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that the Queensland government is allowing commercial fisheries to catch endangered sharks on the Great Barrier Reef, with a quota based on data that was useless for managing the shark numbers, according to an independent peer reviewer.

Shark experts and WWF are calling for an observer program, which was axed by the previous government in 2013, to be reinstated so that better data on shark catches can be collected.

Jim Higgs, WWF’s Great Barrier Reef fisheries technical adviser, said it wasn’t possible to know what level of take was sustainable for these sharks, since the historical and current data was based on such “dodgy data”.


WWF to Productivity Commission: Bushland and forests must be protected

WWF-Australia on Thursday said the nation’s remaining bushland and forests must be better protected rather than destroyed by bulldozers as is happening at a growing pace.

The conservation organisation was responding to the Productivity Commission Draft Report on Regulation of Australian Agriculture which states: “Native vegetation and biodiversity conservation regulations need fundamental change…”
“Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world and land clearing is one of the major reasons we hold that shameful record,” said WWF-Australia Conservation scientist Dr Martin Taylor.

Land clearing has already tripled in Queensland from 78,378 hectares cleared in 2009-10 to 296,324 hectares in 2013-14 and scientists fear changes in New South Wales will lead to greatly increased rates of clearing.

Read our full story here.

Josh Frydenberg appointed as Environment and Energy Minister

WWF-Australia has congratulated Josh Frydenberg on being appointed Australia’s new Minister for Environment and Energy.
WWF also welcomed the merging of the Environment and Energy portfolios as a sensible decision of the Prime Minister.
“We warmly welcome the appointment of Minister Frydenberg and we look forward to working with him,” WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said.
“We also congratulate former Environment Minister Greg Hunt on his appointment as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.” 

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