Shark fishing banned on beaches

SHARK fishing during daylight hours has been banned from South Australian metropolitan beaches in a trial which will run until February 2013.

Presumably in response to the recent unusual level of shark attacks on ocean swimmers and surfers around Australia and subsequent voter concern about sharks being lured close to shore (and swimmers) during daylight hours, shark fishing will be banned between 5am and 9pm but permitted outside those times.

During the prohibited period, fishers can’t use wire traces or hooks larger than 50mm. Infringement penalties include $315 on-the-spot fines or fines of up to $20,000 if the matter goes to court.

SA Angler editor Shane Mensforth said the daylight ban was a “reasonable compromise” because fishermen would still be able to target sharks at night, reported.

But he branded the ban on hooks above size five “ridiculous”. He said the ban would prevent anglers from catching fish such as snapper, salmon and kingfish off metropolitan jetties.

“If I was going to fish for snapper off the Grange, Semaphore, or Brighton jetties I’d be using a (size seven or eight) hook,” Mensforth said.

Fisheries Minister Gail Gago said public concerns had prompted the restrictions, to “strike a balance”.

Fisheries officers and Fishcare volunteers will patrol metropolitan fishing spots to ensure compliance. The measures were developed after consultations with the Fisheries Council, shark behavioural experts and the South Australian Recreational Fishing Advisory Council.

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