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May 13, 2021

Dawn raids on fishing boats

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Ballina’s commercial fishers have been subject to raids on their boats by NSW Fisheries as early as 4am following the de-finning of a protected grey nurse shark last month.

The shark was found washed up, still alive, on Evans Head beach but died a short time later. The matter was reported to the department of primary industries, which has been investigating.

Dozens of boats were checked, according to Ballina Fishermen’s Co-Op GM Phil Hilliard.

Mr Hilliard told APN Media that it was unlikely commercial fishers would do such a thing because of the likelihood of losing their licence. By comparison, amateurs, if they went to court, would probably only get a ‘slap on the wrist’, he said.

The incident has prompted the Greens to demand last week that the person found to be responsible for the live mutilation of the shark be punished.

NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann called on primary industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson to give ‘full protection’ to the critically endangered creature’s habitat. She said recent public consultation over the issue was clearly supported by the community but the minister had failed to act.

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  1. I am pretty sure that Cate Faehrmann’s “full protection” is aimed at the closing of waters between the Tweed Border to Montague Island (this is the NSW habitat range for the Grey Nurse Shark) to any form of fishing. This is the same knee jerk reaction given to the beef export trade to Indonesia where a blanket ban did not solve the main problem, but caused a multitude of others (especially for the communities, families and businesses of regional areas). Grey Nurse Sharks can be confused with whaler sharks, especially for an inexperienced angler. None the less, this is a despicable act whether it is an endangered animal or not. Those who can mutilate a live creature like this would not hesitate to cross imaginary lines either. Amazing how the Commercial Fishers are the ones who are targeted first. How many boat ramps and recreational fishers were given the same treatment?


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