Monday, December 20, 2010

Bizzare - Shark Nets Used as "Census" Shark Finning Blamed

For the past several years we have been vocal opponents against shark nets and drumlines along the Gold Coast of Australia.

Drumlines and shark nets are antiquated shark protection systems, a 1950's solution to issues between sharks and commercial tourism.

Frankly, we can do better.

The image featured here is a Gold Coast caught white shark from 2009 on a drumline set to "protect" bathers from these animals. Typically these sharks are disposed of at sea, the public is largely unaware that just off their pristine beaches, sharks are being killed indiscriminately.

So you can imagine the head shaking going on after reading an article this week where shark net managers along the Gold Coast are noticing smaller numbers of sharks caught in their nets...and are blaming commercial shark finners for sharks disappearance.

"Startling figures yesterday revealed shark nets had caught 40 less sharks in the past 12 months compared to the same period in 2001/02"

"In the 2001-02 financial year 78 sharks were caught in nets off the Coast but by 2009-10 the number had dropped to 37."

You can files these observations under "WFT".

Perhaps shark finning has something to do with the drop in numbers, or perhaps breeding populations, after close to 50 years of slaughter in the name of shark free beaches, are finally crashing. Perhaps it is an ugly combination of both factors and a few not yet identified.

The point is, this weeks article from shark net and drumline mangers is a bit much, even to the eyes of the most jaded shark conservationist.

Let's start rebuilding local Gold Coast shark populations by removing the shark nets and drumlines, because any data coming from these "merchants of death" is suspect and absolutely not a solution, except for smaller populations of sharks.

Dr.Amy Smoothey - Clarence River Bull Shark Project

Keep your eyes on this shark tagging project on the Clarence River in Australia.

Featuring 25 tagged Bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) and one of the most in depth looks into the migration and movement patterns of this unique shark species.

Shark researcher Dr.Amy Smoothey and her team have been on the Clarence River since October of this year catching primarily female sharks and tagging them.

Additional listening stations will be places all over the region to determine the sharks movement patterns over the next decade.

Unlike most sharks, bull sharks tolerate fresh water and can travel far up river systems making this species unique.

More on the project.

More on dead shark discovered in November.