By Grace Jones | posted on June 17, 2019
GREENS MLC for South West Diane Evers did not consult with the government prior to tabling a bill to stop the sale of shark fin products in Western Australia last week, according to the
State Fisheries minister.
Ms Evers’ Bill is to amend the Food Act 2008 to prohibit the sale and supply of shark fin products for incidental and related purposes.
If endorsed, the Bill would introduce fines to people selling food that contains shark fin from $50,000 for an individual to $250,000 for a corporate body.
Ms Evers said shark finning, which involves a shark’s fins being removed while alive and returning it to the ocean to drown, was currently a federal offence.
“This Bill is a clear, measured and important step in our work towards ending the inhumane and wasteful practice of shark finning,” she said.
“The proposed amendments to the Food Act 2008 will improve food standards and ensure the practice of shark finning is prohibited at each stage of the supply chain.
“This Bill simply seeks to treat shark fin food products the same as others considered unsuitable for consumption and will mirror provisions for existing offences under the Act.”
Ms Evers said it had been reported that thousands of kilograms of shark fins are imported into Australia each year due to loopholes in existing regulations.
She said many jurisdictions have implemented their own specific bans on shark fishing and that she had been vocal in the past about the harmful effects of baited shark drumline trials.
“Even with bans in place, we know some fishers continue this cruel practice,” Ms Evers said.
“In 2015, a boat was apprehended in Queensland waters carrying over 3000 shark fins.
“The international community recognises that shark finning damages species and ecosystems, while shark fins have not been established to offer any scientific health benefits.
“Unfortunately, foods such as shark fin soup continue to be offered in restaurants as a delicacy.”
State Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said shark finning was illegal in WA.
“The international practice of shark finning, which involves cutting off the fins and discarding the rest of the shark, is awful and I can understand people’s disgust,” he said.
“Prior to tabling this bill, Ms Evers did not consult with the government.
“I have sought advice from the Department about Ms Evers’ Bill.”