Finless grey nurse shark washes ashore on north coast

AN investigation is under way after an endangered grey nurse shark washed ashore on the NSW north coast – the shark’s dorsal fins had been cut off.

Fisheries officers have reportedly searched boats and interviewed fishermen since the dying grey nurse was found on a beach near Evans Head last week. The shark was a young breeding female – grey nurse sharks are totally protected in NSW waters.

“It is illegal to remove the fins from any shark at sea,” a spokesman for the Department of Primary Industries said.

“Penalties of up to $220,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment can be applied.”

Despite growing worldwide condemnation of the cruel shark finning trade, shark fin soup is still considered a delicacy in some restaurants.

Greens MP, Cate Faehrmann, said the mutilation showed a need for strengthened grey nurse protection.

“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,” she said.

“The shark was still alive when it was found on the beach and suffered a slow, cruel death.”

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