An injured Grey Nurse shark, which was swimming off Julian Rocks last week and required urgent veterinary surgery, has disappeared, according to diver and shark advocate Madison Stewart.
The shark can be seen in the video Madi supplied to Echonetdaily, swimming with a rope tied around its tail, cutting into the flesh. Madi said at the time, ‘if it has been pulled by this rope then it will most likely suffer from spinal injuries and eventually starve to death.’ It also had a dislocated jaw.
Despite several dives this week, Madi has been unable to locate the injured animal.
Both the Greens and Seaworld have backed Madi’s call for a shark haven to be established at Julian Rocks.
Greens MP and environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann said yesterday, ‘Julian Rocks is one of the critically endangered Grey Nurse shark’s aggregation sites declared critical for the species’ survival. Hook and line fishing is a major threat to the species.’
‘Conservationists and the Greens are calling for 1500m sanctuary zones extending from the perimeter of the underwater rock gutters where the sharks live at each of its critical aggregation sites,’ said Ms Faehrmann.
Seaworld’s director of marine sciences Trevor Long told ABC radio this morning that Grey Nurse aggregation zones need extra protection.
‘I don’t think we’re saying that we don’t want people to fish at Julian Rocks or these other sites. What we want to see is an area of exclusion around the rocks.’
Primary industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson was recently handed the results of consultation on Grey Nurse sharks, which said 82 per cent of respondents support Grey Nurse shark protection.
Ms Hodgkinson said the feedback from a meeting of stakeholders at Coffs Harbour last month will be used to determine the government’s strategy for managing key aggregation sites.
Madi is encouraging readers to email relevant politicians in support of developing 1.5km exclusion zones around Julian Rocks and other key aggregation sites.