About 100 metres disconnected the constituent betwixt Tamarama and Bondi Beach, beneath a airy unreality of tawny-coloured jelly-blubbers and a heavy shoal of yellowtail scad, 2 grey caregiver sharks sheltered nether a stone overhang connected Saturday morning.
They were oblivious to the free-divers struggling to clasp their enactment agelong capable to instrumentality wide photos of them 10 metres beneath the swell.
The sharks were young, some smaller than 2 metres long, and presented nary menace contempt the fierce-looking teeth that erstwhile led them to beryllium killed connected sight.
So galore were killed, and their breeding rhythm truthful slow, that the timid creatures are present critically endangered successful NSW.
Although protected by law, grey caregiver sharks are inactive injured internally by sportfishing hooks and drowned successful nets specified arsenic the 1 that kills truthful galore ample oversea animals each twelvemonth a fewer 100 metres away, astatine Bondi Beach.
The Bondi nett was archetypal designed to termination sharks alternatively than conscionable support them distant from swimmers.
Little is known astir the animal, which is wherefore recreational and commercialized divers were counting its numbers up and down Australia’s eastbound seashore connected Saturday. The archetypal co-ordinated census of the grey caregiver targeted known “aggregation sites”, from Wolf Rock successful southbound Queensland to Montague Island successful southbound NSW.
Leading the Bondi expedition was Duncan Heuer, who is portion of a radical down the Saving Norman website, which is campaigning for the removal of the Bondi shark net, a task present backed by Waverley Council. (Local water swimmers often affectionately notation to immoderate shark they spot successful the country arsenic Norman.)
Heuer points retired that the nett – which extends conscionable 150 metres on Bondi’s 800 metres, reaching neither the aboveground nor the seafloor – was archetypal designed to termination sharks alternatively than conscionable support them distant from swimmers.
“Back successful the ’30s, they thought that if they could termination capable successful the nets each twelvemonth they would yet bring the numbers down,” Heuer says.
The targets were bull sharks, achromatic pointers and tiger sharks – though astir 90 per cent of kills are different species, oregon not sharks astatine all. Indeed, bodies trapped successful the nets pull sharks, Heuer says.
Gordon Scott, a diver and retired oversea skipper who organised the count, said helium hopes the information volition pb to aggregation sites – wherever sharks linger arsenic they patrol coastal waters – being protected, arsenic probe suggests that repeated wounded from sportfishing hooks is reducing the sharks’ fertility.
By 5pm connected Saturday, 21 sites up and down the seashore had reported uncovering 162 grey caregiver sharks, of which much than 100 were counted astatine Wolf Rock, conscionable southbound of Fraser Island successful Queensland. Two much sites were yet to report.
“It is beauteous scary,” Scott said of the number, though helium made it wide that due to the fact that truthful small survey had been done connected the sharks, it was inactive not wide what the number signalled of the animal’s existent numbers, which scope betwixt 1500 and 2000 connected authoritative estimates.
“We conscionable don’t truly cognize however galore are left, conscionable that determination should beryllium more,” helium said.
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