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18 Feb 2020 17:22:45
A Critically Endangered Grey Nurse Shark in Bushrangers Bay, near Shellharbour now has full use of both eyes thanks to a successful rescue that removed the gang hooks caught between her eye and jaw.
The SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium team were advised by a member of the public who spotted the juvenile, female shark with the offending hooks in the bay. If left alone this would have likely caused a nasty infection or worse, the shark could have been caught on debris or netting.
After locating the shark during an initial inspection of Bushrangers Bay, a dive team of five from the Aquarium returned to the site last week to conduct the rescue. Despite difficult conditions, the team eventually managed to herd the shark into a custom made sock and it took the Aquarium’s resident vet, Dr Michael Cannon just one minute to remove the potentially deadly hooks.
Rob Townsend, one of our Marine Scientists commented, “It is always heartbreaking to hear of animals in distress, particularly when dealing with the young female of an Endangered species. Predators such as Grey Nurse Sharks rely heavily on their vision so to be able to save the sight of this animal was really rewarding for all involved.
“After the rescue, we administered the shark with antibiotics and vitamins before she swam off beautifully and healthily into the ocean.
“Gang hooks are a common tackle used by fishermen and sadly can have devastating impacts on wildlife. Our advice is to avoid using stainless steel tackle and use barbless circle hooks instead,” added Rob.
In October 2019, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium were granted approval for a Department of Primary Industries (DPI) permit that allows the team to undertake rescues of Grey Nurse Sharks in specified waters of NSW. The DPI have since helped collaborate on two successful rescues.
If you spot an injured or struggling shark in the wild, please contact the DPI Fisheries or let us know via our website!