Jaws of life

Divers save shark left for dead

SCUBA divers have revived a two-metre tiger shark left for dead after fishers dumped it into the water off Woodman Point Jetty.

Veteran diver Viv Matson-Larkin says before she went for a dive Saturday February 9, an old fisher at the jetty had told her to be careful of a shark that had been caught and stabbed by some youths and “belly flopped” into the drink.

Ms Matson-Larkin said she and fellow diver Darcie Young were later in the water for three hours when they stumbled across the shark, gasping to breathe.

“We never expected it to be alive and went ‘oh my god’, when we saw its mouth move,” she told the Herald.

“It had been stabbed because there was still some blood on its dorsal fin and tail.

“Because it had been lying on its side gasping for air it had taken silt in through the gills—it was sad to see.

“We moved it over and started to massage it so it can get some air, then it started to move.

“Darcie followed it for about five minutes and it started to take off.”

Ms Matson-Larkin captured extraordinary footage on camera (above).

She says that two days before, some diving friends saw a two-metre tiger shark lying on the ocean floor, gasping for air but had been too scared to move it.

The long-time Woodman Point Jetty diver says she’s seen mutilated sharks and stingrays near the jetty before.

Her comments fly in the face of fishers who’d inundated Herald Interactive (our online paper where readers can comment on stories) to claim they never mistreat marine life.

“They have been doing it for years and I have come across carved-up sharks and I have a picture of a head of shark that had been cut off,” Ms Matson-Larkin says.

“I’m not saying all fishermen do it, but there are some idiots who think it’s funny.

“I just don’t like what’s been happening. I believe if you take it for food, catch it and eat it.”

Another scuba diver, Karl Fehlauer, said underneath the jetty was a “graveyard of dead animals killed by these fools and tossed back into the water”.

“We regularly find the carcasses of sharks such as bull sharks, hammerhead sharks and port jackson sharks with stab wounds to their heads and bodies and then tossed into the water to rot,” he said.

“We have found stingrays and shovel-nose rays dead in the water from wounds, blowfish with their tails cut off and numerous other fish with hooks stuck in their mouths and the fishing line wrapped around the pylons.”

Mr Fehlauer, a governance manager at the Leeuwin Barracks, said one fisher had tried to attack him with a fishing gaff because he’d thought he was scaring crabs.

“This young kid was chasing me around and abusing me, but he wouldn’t come and talk to me,” he said.

“And all the blood and offal they use to attract sharks is bringing in sharks where mums and dads swim with their kids.

“It’s just ludicrous.”

by BRENDAN FOSTER

2 responses to “Jaws of life

  1. Thank you to Viv and Darcie for this video. There has been a real upsurge in violence towards creatures in Perth over the two years. On top of that, I believe the Barnett Govt moved two years ago to discontinue monitoring of how many creatures are used in experiments in WA. Apparently the numbers have increased, just in WA, from 500,000 to 2.2 million (2008-2010), and it became too intensive an activity to monitor (it was conducted by Minister John Castrilli’s depts). I am very concerned about the increase in cruelty to animals, including those straying in through new land developments not yet built on and preyed upon by creeps in cars. You don’t want to know…. Something is happening, some sort of essential disconnect in people, as the stresses and strains continue to pile on in WA.

  2. I am going for fishing to Woodman point very offten as we leave close by,but those youths are there all the time torturing a sharks,sting rays and so on.I dont know if they dont have a school to go to or parents which they dont care where they kids are or what they do.They are there non stop being so rude and in some point there where trying to catch a sealion :-(.Only one solution is … install a camera in there and make sure that for violence they do will be consenquences. ……because u cant imagine what they do with those poor animals ….

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