Protect Our Sharks and Rays in South Australia
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Small sharks such as Port Jackson sharks and juvenile bronze whalers, as well as rays such as Eagle Ray, Fiddler Ray and stingarees are regularly being caught and butchered on South Australian jetties. The dead or dying animals are then tossed back into the sea, or dumped on jetties, boat ramps, or in bins.
During the past several years, divers and beachcombers have been documenting the evidence of this slaughter, with photographs and reports. Examples include juvenile sharks with stab wounds in the head, others with throat slashed, rays with fins hacked off, and dying non-edible sharks (including juveniles) lined up on jetties for photographs after being caught. The maiming and killing of sharks and rays is even happening in the vicinity of Marine Sanctuaries, such as Port Noarlunga.
Only a small proportion of fishers in South Australia engage in torturing, killing, dismemberment and wastage of sharks and rays, but their behaviour is completely unjustifiable, and must stop now. Some fishers might mistakenly believe that these animals compete for the fish species which fishers are trying to catch. Others falsely assume that these sharks and rays are dangerous. Some fishers may kill sharks and rays indiscriminately, just because they can. All of these animals are harmless if left alone, and most eat shellfish, squid, or small schooling fishes. Females of some shark species in South Australia are more than 10-15 years old when they first reproduce. Juveniles which are caught and killed never have opportunity to grow and have young, and contribute to the populations. Some ray species in South Australia only have 1 - 6 pups per reproductive period. They are not prolific breeders, and should not be fished.
Fishing for sharks from multi-use jetties is also a public safety risk, with issues such as potential attraction of larger sharks to jetties, lost hooks and line, and line entanglement of divers and swimmers.
We are calling on the South Australian government to ban shark and ray fishing at all South Australian jetties. We further request the imposition of fines and confiscation of fishing gear, for any person found with shark fishing equipment on jetties, including sharks hooks, wire trace, or mono-filament line > 1mm diameter.
We also recommend that a code of practice be developed for all marine fishers (using jetties, boats, beach or rocks), regarding release protocols when sharks and rays are incidentally caught.
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