Saturday, March 18, 2006

Shark victim says the great white shark is not the one who needs protection!

A man who was attacked by a great white shark 10 years ago says he fears moves to protect the creatures will endanger lives.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter has issued a discussion document canvassing options for protecting what he calls "the celebrity predators of the ocean".

He says great whites are an object of fear and fascination, but there is growing evidence that the species is in trouble internationally. Mr Carter says great whites are vulnerable to drowning in set-nets and are also a target for trophy hunters.

Vaughan Hill lost his right arm and has limited use of his left hand after being attacked by a great white while he was diving for paua near the Chatham Islands on September 6, 1996.

He believes the protection of the sharks in Australia has made beaches there less safe and is worried the same will happen here.

Mr Hill says Mr Carter should be prepared to explain his decision to shark attack victims if the changes are introduced.

Options for protection include listing the species under the Wildlife Act and the Fisheries Act.
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research shark researcher, Malcolm Francis, says this would be a positive move, but would not offer complete protection. Submissions on the proposal close in early May.

Great whites are already protected in Australia, South Africa and the United States.


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