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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Grey nurse shark mutilated

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A shark found washed up on Evans Head beach last week with its fins cut off was a critically endangered grey nurse, according to the Department of Primary Industries.

The breeding female was still alive when it was washed onto the beach.

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

‘It is illegal to fin a live shark and discard its body in NSW waters and it is also a very serious offence to harm a critically endangered grey nurse shark. Clearly, the department needs to step up its compliance activities if fishermen think they can get away with such serious offences,’ Greens environment spokesperson MP Cate Faehrmann said yesterday

‘What is even more tragic is that it was a young breeding female. The minister needs to reassure the public that the department is doing everything it can to catch the offender.

‘The loss of a breeding female from the tiny grey nurse shark population on the east coast of Australia is a huge blow to the desperate conservation effort to save this species,’ said Ms Faehrmann. ‘The shark was still alive when it was found on the beach and suffered a slow, cruel death.

‘The minister also needs to make her own position clear on the conservation of this critically endangered species. On taking office, she revoked protections for the grey nurse shark at South West Rocks and Solitary Islands to appease the fishing lobby. She has since undertaken a lengthy public consultation process on grey nurse shark protection during which the public told her that they overwhelmingly support protective measures. Yet she still holds off on giving these sharks’ habitat full protection,’ said Ms Faehrmann.


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  1. This is a horrible act of cruelty. Unfortunately, the perpetrator will probably not be caught and prosecuted. Do you think someone who could do this despicable act would respect a marine park boundary? As the sharks’ habitat is all along the coast, locking away more prime marine food resource areas will not give them any more protection from this sort of brutality than the current legislation. There are ten critical habitat sites declared and many of these have the “extra protection” of marine parks and aquatic reserves. It sounds like the lazy way of blanket locking away of the oceans is not the answer for these sharks if they are still endangered after nearly a decade of marine park and marine reserve “protection”.

  2. I agree with Eddy and then let’s immediately replace her. She is the one who declared that logging helps koalas, for screaming out loud! She clearly has no clue what is required of an ‘Environment’ Minister….


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