A fish biologist believes increasing shark numbers is evidence of a healthy marine ecosystem and “hype” about sharks stealing catches is exaggerated.
A fish biologist believes increasing shark numbers is evidence of a healthy marine ecosystem and “hype” about sharks stealing catches is exaggerated.

‘It’s part of fishing’: Shark explosion dismissed

A CASSOWARY Coast fish biologist believes increasing shark numbers is evidence of a healthy marine ecosystem and "hype" about sharks stealing catches is exaggerated.

However an old time Great Barrier Reef expert reckons numbers are "out of control".

Recreation fisher and founder of a Cassowary Coast fishing group Mark Anderson said he had not lost a fish to sharks in his past four Reef outings.

"If they lose the odd one or two or three, it's part of fishing. We are going fishing in the ocean where there's sharks," he said.

A recreation fisher with what is left of a coral trout after the taxman has taken a cut. Picture: Ken Jo Wilesmith
A recreation fisher with what is left of a coral trout after the taxman has taken a cut. Picture: Ken Jo Wilesmith

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"We are seeing great catches, trophy fish every day. Recreational fishers are coming back with full Eskies.

"If the sharks were not out there in the numbers they are the fish would not be out there in the numbers they are.

"It's an indication of a healthy fishery."

 

 

 

However a veteran with a lifetime's experience on the Great Barrier Reef believes changed regulations restricting commercial fishers' takes are to blame for shark numbers being "out of control" in waters off Cairns.

Eighty one-year-old Mission Beach local Dave Nossen was the first chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority advisory board.

Mr Nossen, who was on the committee for 33 years, believes rules that stopped professional fishers from taking sharks has triggered a population explosion.

"Years ago the pro fishermen could take sharks and sell the fins to Japan," he said.

 

A big bull shark landed last year from the beach north of Palm Cove.
A big bull shark landed last year from the beach north of Palm Cove.

"The greenies and do gooders stopped them from taking sharks. Now there is thousands and no one is killing them.

"All they have to do to solve the problem is let the pro fisherman take them under 1.5m."

Mr Nossen said with no natural predators the shark situation is "getting totally out of control".

Also fishers using light tackle and taking a long time to boat their catch made it less likely to "get a fish up" without the taxman taking a cut, he said.

 

Originally published as 'It's part of fishing': Shark explosion dismissed


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