World Wildlife Fund buys Great Barrier Reef shark-fishing licence

Issue 
A shark caught in a trawl net.

World Wildlife Fund Australia has bought a commercial shark fishing licence for $100,000 in a move to protect sharks in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and beyond.

The Queensland Government allocates five licences that allow a 1.2 kilometre net to trawl for sharks and other by-catch.

WWF Australia conservation director Gilly Llewellyn said: "It's a new approach to conservation.

"This is an opportunity for people to help stop a massive 1.2km long net from sitting in reef waters and indiscriminately killing almost everything that swims into it.

"These enormous nets kill tens of thousands of juvenile sharks each year, including hammerheads which are listed internationally as endangered."

The commercial shark catch on the Great Barrier Reef almost doubled from 222 tonnes in 2014 to 402 tonnes in 2015. Llewellyn said that equated to 100,000 sharks last year.

"This will save at least 10,000 sharks each year, prevent dugongs, turtles and dolphins being killed as by-catch, and help the reef heal after the worst coral bleaching in its history," Llewellyn said.

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