Australia Shark fins, skins and flesh found on suspected illegal fishing boat off NT coast
Queensland tourist industry calls for extra shark control measures
Queensland tourism operators are demanding urgent government action to control sharks in the Great Barrier Reef amid fears foreign tourists are being scared off. The call comes after bickering by state and federal governments over the best way to control sharks around the popular Whitsunday Islands and other destinations.The two governments have been at loggerheads, with Queensland calling on Canberra to pass laws allowing it to kill sharks in the reef.
A haul of more than 60 shark fins, skins and flesh has been discovered on board an Indonesian fishing boat in waters off the coast of Darwin.
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) said the boat was likely in the early stages of its fishing operation before it was apprehended 187 kilometres from Croker Island.
Peter Venslovas, AFMA's fishing operations general manager, said Australian Border Force officers found five crew on board with a suspected illegal catch of 63 fresh shark fins, 16 shark skins and 60 kilograms of shark flesh.
Despite the relatively small quantity found, Mr Venslovas told the NT Country Hour shark fin could fetch up to $175 per kilogram in Indonesia.
Qld tourism operators issue 'wish-list' aimed at preventing shark attacks
Queensland tourism operators have issued a 'wish-list' of measures to politicians, aimed at preventing shark attacks. Tourism bosses want aerial shark spotters, netted swimming spots, SMART drumlines and shark deterrent devices to be trialed across the Whitsundays.They also want a comprehensive investigation into what’s causing the sudden change in shark behaviour and attacks. Last week one man lost his foot and another man suffered deep wounds to his right calf after they were mauled by a shark on Airlie Beach.
"Shark fin does fetch some fairly lucrative prices," he said.
"It's important that we send strong messages to those who feel they can come into Australian waters and target our fish stocks."
The boat was burnt yesterday morning after being escorted into Darwin Harbour to AFMA's vessel destruction facility.
"Because of the nature of them, destruction is the most effective method to deal with that quarantine risk," Mr Venslovas said.
AFMA fisheries officers have started their investigation and will recommend charges to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
"The usual process is to charge the master, because the master is in charge of the vessel and he's the brains behind the operation," Mr Venslovas said.
Mr Venslovas said the maximum fine is $52,500 but the confiscation and destruction of the boat was the most significant financial penalty.
He said it was the second boat apprehended in Australia's northern waters this financial year — five were found last financial year.
"When boats do take their chances and have a crack at Australian waters, it's important that we're out there to apprehend them," he said.
According to AFMA, eight of the 36 boats found in waters north of the NT, Western Australia and Queensland in the last three and a half years had shark fin on board.
The most common species found were white tip and black tip reef sharks, tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, whaler sharks and sandbar sharks.
Sharks spotted off popular beach .
Shark spotting planes conducting the first flights of the season have already found two ocean predators. The two sharks were spotted lurking just south of popular swimming beach Glenelg in South Australia. © 9News Great white sharks and bronze whalers are known to cruise the coast of South Australia. It comes after a number of sightings at the weekend. © 9News Pilots spotted two sharks on the first day of patrols. © 9News Plane patrols will look for sharks off South Australia.
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