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Full Protection for Great White Sharks in New Zealand

November 30, 2006

Great white sharks will now be fully protected within 200 nautical miles of New Zealand and from fishing by New Zealand-flagged boats further a field, due to a change in legislation announced by the Ministers of Conservation and Fisheries yesterday.

The new rules against killing these sharks come with teeth: a $250,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment as a maximum penalty. Researchers from the Pew Institute for Ocean Science have been advancing great white shark conservation through science for several years and provided comment on the draft 2005 proposed legislation at the invitation of the New Zealand government.

“New Zealand was one of the last “hot-spots” where great whites were not fully protected, so we support this new legislation that will go a long way to ensuring the future of this apex predator” said Dr. Ellen Pikitch, Executive Director. The Pew Institute has also contributed to great white shark conservation in the past through development of a DNA-test that helped pave the way for greater international protection for the species and which was subsequently used to reveal illegal trade in white shark fins in the U.S.A. Pew Institute researchers are now collaborating with New Zealand scientists to track the movements of young white sharks along the coast via satellite, in order to develop methods to minimize accidental capture in fisheries.

For more information see our publications:

Shivji M S, D D Chapman, E K Pikitch, P W Raymond. 2005. Genetic profiling reveals illegal international trade in fins of the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias. Conservation Genetics. 6:1035-1039.

Chapman D D, D L Abercrombie, C J Douady, E K Pikitch, M. J. Stanhope, M S Shivji. 2003. A streamlined, bi-organelle, multiplex PCR approach to species identification: Application to global conservation and trade monitoring of the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias. Conservation Genetics . 4(4): 415-425.

Project: Fingerprinting Our Shark Fisheries

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