Mako shark still seen as trophy fish for local club competition
I was walking with my favourite Park Ranger yesterday on our usual wander near the Warrnambool Breakwater (the long stone wall in the background of these shots) and noticed a crowd around the weigh-in scales.
At first I thought one of the local tuna fishermen had hoisted up a decent fish for the benefit of tourists (who usually don’t appreciate the plight of the southern bluefin, but that’s another story). On making a path through the onlookers, my partner and I were pretty horrified to see a 110kg mako shark on the scale and a few impressed fishermen boasting about the catch.
Of course fishing for various shark species such as mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) and gummy (Mustelus antarcticus) is still legal in Australia (limits vary by state and territory) but hearing one fishermen state this was a “common shark in these waters” made me cringe: they are still heavily fished and listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
Hanging one up in front of a crowd helps continue the “man vs shark” stereotype that is continuing to push down shark numbers worldwide, whether for commercial or recreational purposes. Sizing up the shark when it’s caught, using circle hooks and operating on a catch-and-release basis is the only way to go for maintaining healthy shark populations.
Posted on June 9, 2013, in activism, conservation, fishing, sharks, Warrnambool and tagged conservation, fisheries, fishing, photography, science, sharks, victoria, Warrnambool. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.