Rec fishing group condemns vigilante shark kills

IN the wake of a spate of fatal shark attacks in WA it has been reported vigilante fishermen have been hunting, killing and in some cases torturing sharks for “sport”. 

With the WA Government introducing new laws allowing great white sharks to be destroyed, the Australian reports all sharks have been “demonised” and the laws have encouraged vigilantes.

Recreational angling group Recfishwest has condemned the practice and chief executive Andrew Rowland declared: “We don’t support hunting sharks for the sake of hunting them”.

It comes as the Department of Fisheries investigates video of a 2m whaler shark repeatedly clubbed over the head with a metal bar as onlookers laugh. The video was first made public on

Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said officers were seeking the man responsible and there “may be grounds” to prosecute him.

“If it was found that this sort of practice was widespread then the State Government may have to give some consideration to stronger provisions regarding animal welfare,” Mr Moore said.

Whaler sharks of that size caught south of the Zuytdorp Cliffs near Kalbarri are protected and killing one carries a fine up to $5000. But if the shark was caught north of Kalbarri, the fisher could not be prosecuted because the species is not protected. Sharks are also excluded from animal welfare laws.

Conservation Council WA marine campaigner Tim Nicol said he was alarmed some anglers thought it was “open season” on sharks. He said only a handful of the world’s 450 shark species were dangerous, while the animals were vital to a healthy marine ecosystem.

Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan urged anglers to “only keep a creature if you’re going to eat it, in which case it should be dispatched quickly and humanely”.

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