Basking sharks are finally set to be given ‘protected’ status in Irish waters in the face of the threat of extinction

Basking sharks have finally received legal status as “protected wild animals” under the Wildlife Act amid threats of extinction.

Ireland’s coastal waters are among the most important for conservation of the basking shark and will be placed under protection according to today’s announcement by Foreign Secretary Malcolm Noonan and Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue.

The regulations make it a criminal offense to fish or hunt sharks without a license issued by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine. It will also be illegal to intentionally disturb or destroy the basking shark’s breeding or resting grounds.

The regulations come into effect immediately from today.

“We live in an age of mass extinction. We all have an urgent responsibility to do everything in our power to reverse this trend. By strengthening protection for the basking shark, Ireland will do its part to provide better protection for an endangered species that depends on our territorial waters for survival and thriving,” Minister Noonan said.

“This measure is a first step in providing additional protection for endangered species in Ireland. My department is working to further strengthen our wildlife laws to ensure natural habitats are protected and restored, and to create a more balanced level of protection for marine and terrestrial animals,” Mr Noonan said.

The basking shark is a globally threatened species that is critically endangered. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the basking shark as “Vulnerable” on its Red List of Globally Threatened Species, with its status changing from “Vulnerable” to “Endangered” globally in 2019.

Irish waters are among the most important international coastal regions for the species. Minister McConalogue said the new rules would help “this iconic animal thrive in the seas around Ireland”. Basking sharks are finally set to be given ‘protected’ status in Irish waters in the face of the threat of extinction

Fry Electronics Team

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