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Veteran filmmaker and marine conservationist says more effort must be made to protect sharks

Veteran filmmaker and marine conservationist says more effort must be made to protect sharks  9News
More effort must be made to protect sharks around the world amid rapidly declining populations, a veteran marine conservationist and filmmaker has said.

Trailblazer for marine conservation and documentary filmmaker Valerie Taylor says that humans need not fear sharks, instead we should spend more time saving them.

"There's only 10 per cent of the big sharks left," Ms Taylor said on Weekend Today.

Shark conservationist and documentary filmmaker Valerie Taylor speaks on Weekend Today. (9News)

"We're destroying one of the main animals in the world's ocean...and we can't replace them, they have a job to do, nature intended them to do that job, we can't do it and I think we're going to pay a terrible price.

"But we don't know it yet."

Ms Taylor – who helped film the underwater scenes in Steven Spielberg's Jaws and has just released a new documentary Playing With Sharks – says that the animals play an important role in the underwater ecosystem, and that without them, nature will suffer.

Ms Taylor has just released a documentary Playing With Sharks that aims to expose the myth surrounding fear of sharks. (9News)

"(Sharks) clean up the sick, the old and the wounded and dying, and keep the oceans clean," she said.

"In the last 10 years I haven't seen much in the way of sharks off the (Australian) coast, except grey nurse."

Overfishing and seafloor trawling are major contributing factors in declining shark populations and often many sharks are swept up in nets intended for other fish.

Footage from the film Jaws that Ms Taylor helped capture. (9News)

Ms Taylor said that delicacies such as shark fin soup also play a role in dwindling population numbers.

Historical footage of Ms Taylor featuring in the documentary. (9News)

"You get a lot of money if you're a fisherman for shark fins more than for fish and it's a terrible thing," she said.

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