The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) on Monday called for the greater protection of the endangered hammerhead sharks in the country.

The scalloped hammerhead, also known as the southern hammerhead, was listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2018 but has not been afforded protection under Australia's environmental laws, reports Xinhua news agency.

The federal government is currently reviewing the species' conservation status.

Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), there are six categories of threat status for species in Australia, namely extinct, extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, and conservation dependent.

Leonardo Guida, a shark biologist from AMCS, said the scalloped hammerhead needed protections greater than those that come with endangered status.

Aus conservationists call for greater protection of endangered sharks.
Australian conservationists call for greater protection of endangered sharks.IANS

"What we need in place is a fishing mortality limit so that when too many scalloped hammerheads die, the fishing stops altogether," he was quoted as saying by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday.

"We also need cameras on all the vessels so that we know what's being caught, where. When we get a more accurate picture of the data, we can better manage our fisheries and ensure that we have healthy oceans into the future," he said.

The scalloped hammerhead can be found across Australia's north coast in tropical coastal waters.

According to the AMCS, the population is estimated to have lost up to 80 percent due to commercial fishing and shark culling.

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Under the EPBC Act, fisheries are currently allowed to harvest up to 200 tonnes of scalloped hammerhead every year.

The federal government is due to release its assessment of the species on April 30, according to ABC's report.