By Nelson Groom
Mutilated, dumped and left to rot under the baking sun, the discovery of these 15 juvenile sharks on a picturesque headland has caused outrage.
The carcasses were found laid out on the rock wall at Fingal Head, in Australia’s New South Wales, last Friday morning by Laelia Gardener, on a morning stroll with her father.
Mother-of-two Laelia, 28, took to social media to vent her “disgust” in a post about the grisly display that has been met with hundreds of likes and ignited a fiery debate.
The bag limit for the species, understood to be sliteye sharks, is just five per fisherman, with anyone found breaching this facing fines of up to $88,000 and a possible 18 months in jail.
Now, authorities have launched an investigation into the incident that could see anyone found responsible facing the hefty fine or time behind bars.
Laelia, a wildlife officer, said: “I was having a morning walk with my dad when I saw it. I was shocked, it’s so disturbing that someone could do this.”
“There was nobody around, it smelled awful. They were just left to rot out there. I decided to share it to so whoever did it know it’s not right.”
“It might have been a tourist or someone who has something against sharks. But it’s such a waste of life. Sharks are so important for this marine life to keep the populations balanced.”
Laelia, who lives in Banora Point but was visiting her father at the time, said she has fished her whole life and never come across anything like it.
She said she is glad the post has picked up steam online as it will help promote awareness about the importance of the apex preadators to the ecosystem.
And she had some strong words for whoever was responsible for the gruesome slaying.
“Educate yourself about sharks and their importance. If we didn’t have them we wouldn’t have a healthy ocean.”
NSW Department of Primary Industries have idenitifed the species as Sliteye Sharks, according to fin colouration and shape of pectoral fin.
A spokesperson said: “NSW Department of Primary Industries will investigate to determine if there’s been any illegal activity.”
“Each fisher can take a total of five of these sharks per day. There is no size limit on this species.”