The World Wildlife Fund Australia hopes the  move will save about 20,000 reef sharks, particularly  vulnerable hammerheads, each year.
The World Wildlife Fund Australia hopes the move will save about 20,000 reef sharks, particularly vulnerable hammerheads, each year.

SHARK ATTACK: Bid to cut Great Barrier Reef hammerhead catch

MORE than 45,000  animal lovers are helping take a $200,000 bite out of the Great Barrier Reef region's shark fishing industry after they donated the cash needed for environmentalists to buy and retire two shark net  permits.

The World Wildlife Fund Australia hopes the  move will save about 20,000 reef sharks, particularly  vulnerable hammerheads, each year.

It will also mean less dugongs, turtles and dolphins will die from getting caught in the nets.

WWF-Australia received 45,000 donations from marine lovers living in 30 countries.

The cash injection means the organization will prevent two 1.2km nets from returning to shark fishing.

WWF-Australia conservation director Dr Gilly Llewellyn said hammerheads were particularly vulnerable as they accounted for "about 15% of the weight of all net-caught sharks on the Great Barrier Reef".

Dr Llewellyn said hammerheads in Queensland declined by up to 83% of 1960s' population levels.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources lists the scalloped and great hammerheads as endangered.

The  Federal Government is considering whether or not hammerheads should be declared "threatened" in Australia.

The net buy-out could also see the reef's population of 600 dugong increase.

"Our supporters have been amazing and we can't thank them enough," Dr Llewellyn said.

"We believe the world's best loved marine park, needs the world's best managed fisheries.

"What this campaign has shown us is that thousands of people want to see urgent reform of high-risk fisheries in Queensland." - ARM NEWSDESK


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