When Byron Bay diving instructor Inaki Aizpun was confronted by the sight of a Grey Nurse shark with a fishing net in its mouth that was stopping it from being able to eat he knew he had to help it if he could. Little did he know that this would lead to him being awarded a Hero to Animals Award from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
‘Im very proud and happy that they have given me this award,’ Inaki told Echonetdaily.
‘It wasn’t about that though, I just knew I had to help the shark.’
Some 640,000 tonnes of discarded fishing tackle, also known as ‘ghost gear’, enter the world’s oceans every year and can mutilate and kill marine animals long afterwards.
PETA spokesperson Emily Rice said, ‘We hope the compassion and quick action shown by Inaki Aizpun inspires others to come to the aid of an animal in need.
‘We don’t even need to display such bravery – we can all be heroes for animals simply by choosing to leave them off our plates, not only preventing the slaughter of animals but also reducing the use fishing gear, which is a major killer of marine life.