Source: The Australian, Thursday, September 14, 1995, p.5
By science and technology writer JULIAN CRIBB and NATALIE O'BRIEN THE fishing industry yester- day urged an end to the targeted fishing of great white sharks in Australian waters, despite the belief that a West Australian abalone diver was taken by one on Monday. The chairman of the Australian Seafood Industry Council's environment committee Mr Duncan Leadbitter, said it was a tragic irony that fisherman David Weir was probably attacked and killed by a great white shark on the same day the industry launched its bid to conserve the giant predator. Rescue volunteers found what were believed to be Weir's remains at remote Munglinup Beach about 7.40am yesterday morning. They were being flown to Perth last night for formal identification. The ASIC has called for all States to end the deliberate catching of the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias after indications its numbers were declining. "Based on the biology of these species, a sustainable fishery for the great white is not possible," the ASIC chairman, Mr Brian Jeffriess, said. The exact status of the shark was uncertain, but scientific and anecdotal accounts pointed to falling numbers and declining catches by sport fishermen. Dr Barry Bruce of the CSIRO Division of Fisheries argued there was sufficient evidence to sustain pre-emptive protection of the shark, after the introduction of similar laws in South Africa and California. White sharks are the largest of the predatory sharks, growing to 6-7m and more than 2.5 tonnes in weight. Females take 10 to 12 years to mature, produce 7 to 14 live pups a litter and breed once every two years. This slow rate of reproduction made them particularly vulnerable to targeted fishing, Dr Bruce said. The South Australian Fisheries Department has proposed to protect the great white shark in State waters. Mr Leadbitter welcomed the proposal. "We believe there is abso- lutely no point in targeting the great white," he said. "By the time they've spawned once they're so full of mercury there's no point in eating them - and they tend to smash up your gear in any case." Last night abalone divers in Hopetoun, near where Weir was taken, were preparing to go back into the water. "The divers are going back to work. It may take a couple of days and they will probably start in shallow water until they get their confidence back," a deckhand, Mr Brian Mr Grant said. "But nothing will change."
Where to next?
Student Questions for this article
Teacher Discussion of this article
Index - Related articles
Index - Data Representation
Index - Number
Main Index - Numeracy in the News