Blood in the wa­ter

CLAIMS FISH­ER­MEN AT­TRACT­ING SHARKS TO BEACH

Stirling Times - - Front Page - Mon­tana Ar­don

THE City of Stir­ling has taken ac­tion against fish­er­men at Trigg Beach who surfers say are putting them at risk of shark at­tack.

An­gry surfers have con­fronted fish­er­men af­ter see­ing bloody fish of­fal thrown into the wa­ter to at­tract fish where they pad­dle out.

Out­go­ing Trigg Point Board­rid­ers pres­i­dent Kerry Whit­ford has called for fish­er­men to be banned from the surf break while surfers are there.

The City re­acted to com­plaints by warn­ing fish­er­men they would be fined $125 if they con­tin­ued throw­ing of­fal into the wa­ter from the beach, with one fish­er­man warned as re­cently as last Thurs­day.

Stir­ling Beach Ser­vices co­or­di­na­tor John Snook said beach in­spec­tor ve­hi­cle pa­trols had in­creased to 6am to 6pm to watch what was hap­pen­ing on the beach.

The Stir­ling Times un­der­stands that a few years ago a baited hook was found on a buoy just off the beach, which caught a shark that had to be re­leased by a Depart­ment of Fish­eries boat.

Trigg Beach was closed last Tues­day when a 2.5m shark was spot­ted by the Surf Life Sav­ing WA he­li­copter close to shore.

Trigg surfer Glen Buckey said he was charged at by a sus­pected great white shark in the same spot last month and has called for an im­me­di­ate ban on fish­er­men.

“There are ob­vi­ously more sharks around and it’s ridicu­lous to have fish­er­men bring­ing them in, es­pe­cially af­ter the two fa­tal shark at­tacks in June,” Mr Buckey said.

Bill Gil­bert said he saw a fish­er­man hook­ing a young surfer in the arm at Trigg, then a con­fronta­tion be­tween the fish­er­man and the surfer’s fa­ther when an am­bu­lance had to be called.

“They had to re­move the hook and then the police ar­rived,” he said. “It wasn’t good.” Se­nior Trigg Point Board­rid­ers mem­ber Brad Por­te­ous said he was so up­set at hav­ing to pad­dle out through fish heads thrown out by two fish­er­men in July that he con­fronted them.

“They both told me to f… off even though I pointed out there had been two fa­tal shark at­tacks a cou­ple of weeks ear­lier,” he said.

“One of them had a knife and I was so an­gry that I wrote to Fish­eries Min­is­ter Joe Fran­cis, who replied that it’s il­le­gal to throw fish of­fal into the wa­ter.

“The Min­is­ter said it was up to the City of Stir­ling to en­force.

“We need to get on top of it im­me­di­ately – we’re try­ing to save peo­ple from shark at­tack, and they’re still throw­ing blood and guts into the wa­ter near us.”

A Rec­fish­west spokesman said fish­ing was one of the most com­mon pas­times for many West Aus­tralians but peo­ple needed to re­mem­ber to act re­spon­si­bly when dis­pos­ing of their fish of­fal.

“Fish­ing with bait is com­pletely fine off WA beaches but peo­ple who are dis­pos­ing of whole fish frames and heads need to be aware that it may not be deemed le­gal in cer­tain coun­cil ju­ris­dic­tions,” he said.

Stir­ling con­firmed it was an of­fence un­der its by­laws to throw fish of­fal or other an­i­mal mat­ter into the wa­ter from the beach.

A Trigg fish­er­man ad­mit­ted to the Stir­ling Times that he un­in­ten­tion­ally brought in a big shark by putting berley in the wa­ter while sit­ting in a kayak just be­hind the surf break.

He said the first he knew of the shark was when the SLSWA he­li­copter cir­cled him above with its siren blar­ing, caus­ing Trigg beach to be closed on a busy, hot day.

Surfer Lachie McDon­ald wit­nessed another con­fronta­tion at Trigg Beach when a surfer had to bite through a fish­ing line that had be­come en­tan­gled around him.

“When he got back to shore, the fish­er­man took a swing at him for break­ing his line,” he said.

Surfers at Trigg Beach claim fish­er­men there are putting lives at risk.

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