Safe spaces for sharks!
Remember the good ol days when the torture of fish via knives and suffocation on jetties was a rite of passage for young boys and the occasional adventurous girl?
And when you could go into a restaurant and sit before a miniature train whose little cabooses presented fish that had been vacuumed from the ocean by super trawlers?
Oh you still can torture little fish?
And you can gorge on tuna and so on as long as it’s not…shark?
The elevation of the shark from fish to deity was confirmed a few days ago when it was announced that volunteers would monitor a drum line trial in Gracetown, Western Australia, where Great Whites have multiplied in such numbers one mental health counsellor now has the added custom of freaked-out mums of kids who insist on surfing, to ensure “the health, wellbeing and mortality risks of sharks.”
From a story in The West Australian on Friday.
The transparency of Gracetown’s fast-approaching smart drum-line trial has been bolstered by an agreement that will see two volunteer observers present when a shark is tagged and relocated.
The revelation came at a public forum tonight where Conservation Council of WA’s Simon Blears announced the move.
Mr Blears, CCWA’s representative on the Ministerial Reference Group, said the Department of Fisheries had agreed to make the system more transparent after ongoing concerns for the health, wellbeing and mortality risks of sharks.
The volunteer observers, one of whose identity was disclosed at the meeting, will require police checks and a thorough induction before being allowed on the contracted vessel.
Donna Martin, one of the volunteers, will watch as sharks caught on drum lines are secured with a rope, tagged and relocated at slow speed 500m further offshore.
Mr Blears said the improvements agreed on by the department were “large success points”, adding that trans-parency was a priority for the CCWA.
“One of the other things we wanted to make sure occurred was transparency of activities on the boats,” he said.
As part of the agreement, cameras and audio devices will be mounted to the upper structure of the vessel used for relocating the tagged sharks.
The footage will be made available to the Ministerial Reference Group. CCWA director Piers Verstegen, Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly’s senior policy advisor Michael McMullan and Director of Fisheries Science and Resource Development’s Daniel Gaughan were also at the meeting.
The trial, which starts this month, will see 10 drum lines put about 500m offshore across an 11.5km area taking in Southpoint, Northpoint and Lefthanders at a cost of $3.84 million.
One volunteer, the former aquarium worker Donna Martin, has threatened to have the trial shut if it kills or harms too many sharks.