MEDIA RELEASE: Community come together for Top End sharks

Community come together for Top End sharks following devastating report on plight of the species.
Friday 10th September 2021

The Top End’s unique position as a global “lifeboat” for some of the world’s most endangered sharks and rays fighting extinction will come under the spotlight at a special event in Darwin on Friday 10 September.

Special guests Dr Peter Kyne from Charles Darwin University, Australian Marine Conservation Society shark scientist Dr Leonardo Guida and Mitch Hart from Pew Charitable Trusts, will all be giving first hand accounts of the Northern Territory's shark and sawfish species and the threats they face before a screening of Valerie Taylor - Playing With Sharks at Deckchair Cinema.

The Keep Top End Coasts Healthy (KTECH) event is timed just days after the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) revealed that 37.5% of the world's sharks and rays are at risk of extinction, up from 24% in 2014. 

Although there are still threats and challenges in Australia, our country - and particularly the Top End with its intact coastline - is still considered a lifeboat for many species, including critically endangered sawfish and endangered river sharks.

Dr Guida said: “One third of the world's sharks and rays are threatened with extinction & northern Australia is the last stronghold for species like sawfish, illustrating the urgency of strengthening protections and recovery plans for this species in national environment laws and in fishing rules.

“We want to keep Top End coasts and rivers healthy for all to enjoy, and this includes the marine wildlife which help to keep it that way, and which are such a source of pride for Territorians.”

At the event, Dr Kyne will explain more about his collaboration with the Malak Malak Rangers who annually undertake patrol and rescue operations to transfer trapped juvenile largetooth sawfish from shrinking billabongs and into the Daly river.

Mr Hart will speak about how big cotton players are pushing to take billions of litres of water from NT floodplains, threatening rivers and their wildlife including sawfish species.

The Valerie Taylor - Playing With Sharks documentary profiles the passionate conservationist, who has been putting herself on the front line for sharks for over 70 years.

Doors open at 6pm, with speakers and the screening of a local short film at 6.40pm and the feature film beginning at 7pm. Event details are available here. The event is hosted by Keep Top End Coasts Healthy.