Basking shark given the status of ‘protected wild animal’ under the Wildlife Act- O'Sullivan

Published on: 03 October 2022

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South West and spokesperson on Climate Action, Biodiversity and the Environment, Christopher O'Sullivan, has welcomed new regulations giving the basking shark 'protected wild animal' status under the Wildlife Act which come into effect from today.
The order was signed by his party colleague and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan.
Where an animal is protected under Section 23 of the Act, it is an offence to:
  • hunt a protected wild animal (unless under permission or licence granted by the department)
  • injure a protected wild animal (unless done while hunting in accordance with a licence or exemption cited above), or
  • wilfully interfere with or destroy the breeding or resting places of a protected wild animal
The basking shark is a globally threatened species which faces a high risk of extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the Basking Shark as ‘endangered’ on its Red List of globally threatened species, with its status changing from Vulnerable to Endangered globally in 2019.
Irish waters constitute one of the most internationally important coastal regions for the species. “Protected wild animal” status will give basking sharks important additional protections and contribute to Ireland meeting its obligations under international law.
Welcoming this news, Deputy O'Sullivan said, "This measure is a first step in additional protections for vulnerable species in Ireland.
"Irish waters constitute one of the most important international regions for the basking shark. By strengthening protections, we are helping this iconic animal thrive in the seas around Ireland."