Veteran filmmaker and marine conservationist says more effort must be made to protect sharks
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.
"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.
"(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.
Ms Taylor said that delicacies such as shark fin soup also play a role in dwindling population numbers.
"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.