ALEC rejects live export chasing shark theory

Beef Central – Live Export News

18 Jul 2012

A statement by the Humane Society International (see here) suggesting a link between livestock exports from Fremantle and recent shark attacks off the West Australian Coast is a shameful exercise in denigrating the livestock export industry, according to CEO of the Australian Livestock Export Council Alison Penfold.

“The suggestion that sharks track livestock export vessels, whether carrying animals or not, across thousands of miles of ocean in wait for a carcass is fanciful if not delusional,” Ms Penfold said in a media release issued Wednesday.

“Then to suggest that thousands of dead sheep are thrown overboard as ships depart Australian ports for the Middle East without care or consideration for the consequences of these actions is just blatantly wrong.

“There are strict regulations imposed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority around the discharge of animals including the requirement that no treated carcass of any dead livestock is disposed at sea within at least 20 nautical miles (37km) of nearest land.

“Masters of the ships must adhere to these international rules and livestock exporters ensure that they do.”

Ms Penfold said that mortality rates on board livestock vessels are low, with investment in improving onboard conditions in vessels and significant investment in research and development.

“The fact is that 99.55pc of export animals arrive in country fit and healthy as a result of a rigorous on board animal welfare regime including on board stockmen and vets caring for the animals throughout the voyage.

“It is disappointing that HSI has resorted to such fanciful lies for media headlines and disappointing that they will use a loose of life to mount a baseless political campaign against the livestock export industry.”




  1. Angel

    Of Course they will reject any impact of it on the ecosystem. Accepting it will lead to other sanctions.

    Last year during the Red Sea shark attacks this was considered to be a very valid reason of large sharks coming to shore.

    With the currents even if they damp the lamb in the sea off shore, they will come to shore. We can see these in Whale carcasses, how they attract many large sharks along with it.

    This may well be an effect on attacks. Sharks like an easy meal and this is the easiest one.

    They are very smart, I am sure they know which ships throw meat.

    Years ago back in early 80’s a US Airplane Carrier brought a few GWS into the Med Sea from Atlantic Ocean following its leftovers. When they ported into a bay in Greece, the captain of the ship

    warned the local authorities about the GWS that followed them for a while. And some fishing nets of small size were damaged as well as sights of GWS in some local beaches. When they left, the shark left following them.

    So where there is free food, sharks may follow. If it is a routine, they will learn. Same thing as shark diving in anywhere in the world. Caged or not, the sharks know that it is free food and they come.

    In Honduras we were scuba diving in a spot without knowing that it was a shark operators regular visit spot. We did not see any sharks for almost 20 minutes. As soon as the Operators boat arrived in just in a few minutes we saw more than 20 gray reef sharks. They were not attracted to our boat at all. We were there underwater for more than 20 minutes without a single shark. Until they arrived. So It is clear that they knew which boat was there for free food. I have no idea which sense they use to figure that out. Sound, smell or electric currents of the engine ? But they knew.

    • The Bug

      Abngel, your analysis of this issue lacks a large degree of information regardng the locality of the ship movements and the actual shark attacks – in many cases HIS were a long way off the mark and being fanciful, in drawing the comparisons. Also, your analysis does not discuss the nutritional value of sheep meat, with lower fat content, than other meals like whale which are high in fat content. Regardless of the meal being free or not, animals won’t eat it, if it’s not going to provide them with the nurtitional value they need to survive. There are plenty of free meals I reject myself for those same reasons. Research suggests sharks often reject human flesh, after they attack and capture, for this same reason regarding nutritional value. Something to consider.

  2. Basil

    Ms Penfold incorrecctly stated the distance from land at which the dead can be dumped overboard. Split or minced animals cab be thrown or dispersed like burley within 12 nautical miles. A walk in the park for a shark. The point made by the Humane Soc is that the Govt needs to consider ALL matters and not simply blame the shark for the rise in encounters/attacks.

    Given sharks can smell one part blood to a million parts water, is it any surprise that they would smell and follow a sheep ship especially when the ship retains the smell of urine, faeces, fat, and most of all blood?

    Sharks as opportunistic feeders will eat what they can- and anecdotal reports from crew have said sheep- sometimes live have been thrown overboard to sharks to watch them tear the animal to bits.

    An offer to the CEO of the live exporters- if she is adamant that there is no connection- feel free to don a weysuit and take a long swim during the time the ship loads and departs with its hapless cargo.

    Can anyone categorically state and absolutely guarantee the connection is not real?

  3. Nicky

    Of course the sharks will follow, and HSI has correlated their information extremely well. If ALEC’s Alison Penfold would like to put to the test her contention that HSI is being ‘fanciful’, here is an open invitation for her. The Maysora, an old ship, is currently heading towards the WA coast. We invite Ms Penfold to take a boat trip with us, and have a swim and a surf as the Maysora loads animals, and leaves, and when it has just exited the 12NM zone for dropping off dead, sick and dying sheep. Ms Penfold, are you game? We thought not

  4. Diver Dan

    I didnt realise the connection between so many ships and the presence of the sharks . But it stands to reason. As soon as the sheep are dumped the sharks would be around, and I have no doubt that sheep would have died as soon as the ship is on its way – dumping would begin when the ship hits the legal distance from AU shores- 12 Nautical miles.

  5. Angel

    I am sure if we conduct a scientific study on this, we can prove that the carcasses of sheep will attract sharks anywhere, anytime.

    The Red Sea incident last years was about the same ships going through the canal doing the same thing.

    Rendered or not it will attract sharks. The fat level is irrelevant. They do not have a fat measuring device in their months that can make a differentiation of fat contact.

    We humans have less fat than lamb or sheep but they still attack us as well.

    So this can not be a part of discussion.

    On the other hand the left over will attract not only sharks but other sea life that will take the attentions of sharks.

    They are far more smarter than you think for easy food. I gave a few examples in the first massage, I can give countless more of them.

    12 or 20 miles is no big distance for a GWS. They travel tens of thousands of miles to mate. This is documented scientifically. And the currents play their part as well.

    Nobody measures the currents direction or strength when you throw overboard. In a few hours they will be in a beach.

    I am not saying that all the attacks are because of this. But we need to understand that this may well be one of the major reasons

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