Western Australia: Officers euthanize injured mako shark off Rottnest

Media Release

Department of Fisheries, Western Australia

Sunday 28 October 2012

Injured mako shark destroyed off Rottnest

Fisheries and Marine Officers have today euthanized a severely injured 2.7 metre mako shark, which had been assessed and tagged by the Department of Fisheries WA over the past 24 hours.

Although any shark is capable of inflicting injury, mako sharks are not known for being overly aggressive to humans. As the shark was unlikely to pose a threat of attack, its destruction was therefore not considered under the imminent threat guidelines, instead the decision to destroy it was taken on the grounds of animal welfare.

Regional Manager Metro, Tony Cappelluti said Fisheries’ officers had responded to reports of the injured shark over the weekend.

“It was first reported as sick and injured, when located by divers four nautical miles from Rottnest yesterday (Saturday 27 October),” Mr Cappelluti said. “Fisheries’ officers attended and initially a decision was made to tag the shark, after assessing its injuries. It had sustained injuries to the fin and body from a likely boat strike, but still had a chance of survival.”

Mr Cappelluti said a second report of the injured shark was made this morning, around 11am, when the shark was located 200 metres north of Catherine Bay at Rottnest Island.

“Fisheries’ officers then inspected it again and advised that the shark’s condition appeared to have significantly deteriorated overnight,” he said. “It had sustained additional injuries, from a second suspected boat strike. There was evidence of anti-fouling on its head. Metal wire was also protruding from the shark, including a tuna hook.

“The Fisheries’ officers brought the shark alongside a patrol vessel, to closely assess the injuries and then tried to move it back out to sea, with the intention of releasing it if possible; however that was unsuccessful. Following further assessment, with Research Division assistance, it appeared that due to the nature of its new wounds, the shark would have been unable to feed and couldn’t leave the surface of the water. At that stage, the shark was lifted on board the vessel and euthanized. Tissue samples have been taken and the carcass has been disposed of at sea.”

Mr Cappelluti said it was important the community continued to report shark sightings to the Water Police on 9442 8600.

“With that one call people can alert authorities and the community at the same time,” he said.

Source: Department of Fisheries, Western Australia


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