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Shark Death Tragedy-Set Nets Should Be Banned

Press release -For Immediate Release
New Zealand Underwater
20 Nov 2003


RE: NZ Herald Story (20 Nov):A 5.5 metre (18 foot) pregnant white shark drowns in a net set by Tararu fisherman Dwayne Havord.

If we stopped using set nets in near shore waters, the tragedy of people killing pregnant white sharks could be avoided says New Zealand Underwater Association Marine Biologist, Peter Crabb.

Killing certain types of Sharks is like killing marine mammals because they bare live young to breed, Crabb says. These Sharks do not release eggs and sperms like fish. Sharks, especially large old ones, need special protection as ecologically important apex predators and breeding stock. It was admirable that Daniel Scott and Havord released two of the five white shark pups but survival is not guaranteed, and this rare and special shark won't breed again.

It is known that these amazing animals swim across oceans and protecting them in one territory does little if they are thoughtlessly slaughtered somewhere else. Had Mr Havord not being using a set net, then the shark would not have stumbled into it, and would still be alive, Crabb says. Set Nets do don't discriminate what they catch and left out overnight, can catch whole schools of fish, important sharks and mammals, which are dead before the owner returns.

Sharks suffer fishing pressure from commercial long lining, deep sea trawling and the horrific practice of fining. Fining is where sharks are targeted, their fins are hacked off, and the rest of the animal is discarded, sometimes still alive. The fins are used in he shark fin soup trade, a purported aphrodisiac in Asia.

Open ocean commercial fishing practices are more difficult to control, but the practice of setting nets in harbours could be stopped and its time we thought about this, Crabb says.


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