A critically endangered grey nurse shark may have to be euthanased after it was discovered to be suffering from embedded fishing hooks and a rope at Julian Rocks.
Shark advocate and diver Madi Stewart told Echonetdaily she swam beside the female on a dive three days ago.
‘Her jaw is severely injured and dislocated and the rope around her tail has cut into her skin. If it has been pulled by this rope then she will most likely suffer from spinal injuries and eventually starve to death.’
Ms Stewart says the east coast population has been critically endangered since the 70s when they were hunted to near extinction, ‘as a result of fear from their mere looks’.
The species, however, is well known not to be a threat to man. She lays blame at the state government’s ‘complete negligence of species management’.
‘It is the government departments who have all the science and the submissions in favour of the sharks, yet are allowing critical habitat zones on our east coast to be open to fishing.
‘Recreational fishing is not a livelihood… [the fisherman] should want to protect sharks as sharks impact on the food chain. Frequent pictures of hooked grey nurse are showing up at fish rock caves all the time. Each day we delay for strong protection measures presents an unacceptable risk for another grey.’
Ms Stewart is calling on the government to fully protect all five critical habitats found in Queensland waters as ‘no-take’ marine sanctuaries with a 1.5km radius. ‘To do this we need to write to the government and apply the kind of pressure they cannot ignore.’