Basking sharks will get ‘protected wildlife’ status

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THE GOVERNMENT Announced that basking sharks were to be given ‘protected wild animal’ status under the Wildlife Act.

Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, said a collaborative code of conduct for the ecotourism and wildlife viewing industry will be developed.

Giant basking sharks feed on plankton and are regularly seen swimming slowly in the seas off Ireland.

Studies have shown that Irish waters are home to between 15% and 20% of the world’s population of basking sharks.

Minister Noonan said the protections will be finalized in the coming months.

“Basking sharks are extraordinary creatures and they face increasing pressures from a variety of sources, including disturbance.

“This decision will provide them with short-term legal protections and strengthen their long-term protection through the collaborative development of a code of conduct to support best practices in sustainable ecotourism.

“The upcoming review of the Wildlife Act, in line with the government’s program, will also continue to consider the protection aspects,” he said.

Darragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, welcomed the move and said it followed a long campaign.

“This is great news for the basking shark and for the many people calling for its protection.

“Marine protection is a vital part of the work we do in this department and great progress is being made in this regard, particularly on marine protected areas, which will be a crucial pillar in ensuring that we have a clean, healthy, diverse and sustainable. marine environment used,” he said.

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Asking shark (Cetorhinus maximus), underwater view, Baltimore, Cork, Ireland.

Source: Alamy Image Bank

The new regulations under the Wildlife Act 1976 will prevent unregulated hunting of the animal, it will also make it illegal to harm such a wild animal and it will make it illegal to interfere with its breeding or resting places.

Christopher O’Sullivan, West Cork TD, warmly welcomed the news.

“I have been lucky enough to see these giants of the ocean off Cork many times.

“They are the second largest fish in the world and they really are gentle giants. If you are ever on the southwest coast between May, June or July, you have a great chance of seeing one from any headland or beach,” he said.

This decision was welcomed by the Green Party, a social democrat.

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