A shark fishing competition in Jervis Bay has ended in a gruesome feud between environmental activists and the local fishing club after a car was graffitied and a shark’s head left on its bonnet.
Warning: This story contains videos and images that some readers may find distressing.
- Two sharks were killed during the competition in Jervis Bay
- One of their heads was dumped on an environmental activist’s car following a confrontation at the boat ramp in Huskisson
- The club behind the competition condemned the vandalism, but maintained shark fishing was legal
The annual White Sands Fishing Competition includes tag and release and capture categories category for sharks.
On Saturday two sharks – a tiger and a mako – were killed, weighed and beheaded.
Their bodies were dumped in the sea.
One of the heads was kept for taxidermy, while the other was placed on a car owned by a local diving company.
The vehicle was also graffitied after a protest video showing the tiger shark being weighed was posted online.
The Jervis Bay Game Fishing Club (JBGFC) said in a statement that it did not condone vandalism and that the police had been notified.
“It came to our attention that the company administrator who posted the video online were the subject of vandalism to their trailer and vehicle,” the statement said.
Push for shark fishing shutdown
Environmental activist and diver Kate Ahmad has started a petition calling for an end to shark fishing competitions.
So far more than 2,400 signatures have been received.
The competitions are not illegal, despite some sharks being listed as endangered in some areas.
JBGFC said in its statement the fish were captured on the continental shelf more than 30 kilometres outside Jervis Bay.
But Dr Ahmad said mako and tiger sharks were threatened in some areas and should not be captured and killed at all.
“If you lose your sharks the ecosystem can fail and the oceans are generally in trouble,” she said.
Dr Ahmad called for the fishing community, divers and activists to come together to try and protect the ecosystem.
“If we could find a way to bring the communities together with a common goal of protecting the ecosystems and cutting out some of the practices which are not particularly sustainable and are cruel to the animals, then I am sure there is common ground between the two groups,” she said.
The JBGC said it looked forward to working with the community and businesses to ensure standards were maintained and that all parties could live together harmoniously.
The club also said it worked with university students on shark research during the tournament, and helped to tag and release sharks for research purpose during regular club competitions.