18 July 2005

Dolphins used as shark bait in Australian waters

ILLEGAL fishermen are killing dolphins and using them as bait to catch sharks in Territory waters, an expert revealed yesterday.

Coastwatch Top End manager Jenny Anderson told scientists in Darwin: "We believe dolphins are being cut up as bait."

She also said the Indonesians were landing on the Territory coast.

"This raises serious quarantine issues," she said.

Ms Anderson said illegal boats had been known to carry dogs, parrots, hens and rats.

"That raises the possibility of pests being introduced into Australia," she said.

"We have noticed quite a lot of rubbish on some remote beaches, which indicates the fishermen are coming on shore. Authorities have also located caches of shark fin on shore, as well as freshwater wells."

Fin stores and wells are believed to on McCluer Island off the northwest coast of Arnhem Land.

Ms Anderson said the fishermen posed a health threat because many of them had tuberculosis.

The fishermen are trapping dugongs as a bycatch and are targeting reef fish inside Australia's exclusive fishing zone.

They have become much more technologically advanced over the past decade - boats are now usually equipped with satellite and radar equipment to pinpoint their location and that of Australian authorities.

Ms Anderson said Australian authorities were trying to encourage Indonesian fishermen to find alternative sources of income rather than relying on shark finning to survive. Ms Anderson told an Australian Marine Sciences Association conference that the threat posed by illegal fishermen was greater than ever.

She said Indonesian boats had moved into the Gulf of Carpentaria over the past five years.

"This indicates that whatever we're doing isn't working," she said.

Source: www.news.com.au


At 7:32 PM, Anonymous DE said...

Thats just terrible.


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