Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Great white shark freed from tuna fishermen

A GREAT white shark was released from a tuna cage on July 6.

Primary Industries and Resources SA Aquaculture executive director Ian Nightingale said staff from Tony's Tuna International notified aquaculture and fisheries authorities of the capture and immediately released the shark with little or no loss of tuna.

"It was an excellent result for Tony's Tuna and the industry because they notified all appropriate bodies and knew exactly what to do," Mr Nightingale said.

The protocols for dealing with trapped great white sharks were among the new regulations about to be introduced by the State Government in its comprehensive overhaul of existing regulations expected in the next few months, he said.

"The strategy deployed by Tony's Tuna is what we'd call 'best practice' and we'd like to see all the companies follow that protocol," Mr Nightingale said.

Great white sharks are protected under State and Federal law, so tuna companies are required to do everything in their power to minimise interactions in the first place, diving on cages regularly to remove mortality and limiting the spilling of blood during harvest.

Harvest time was typically a time when shark sightings increased.

There are four Japanese processing or freezer boats in Boston Bay at the moment.

Eyre Peninsula Recreational Fishing Committee president Gary Flack said locals were aware of the increased chances of seeing sharks around freezer boats and this discouraged activities in the water with small boat owners thinking twice about venturing too close.


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