Tiger feeding time

The bitten tiger shark, photographed on February 18.
The bitten tiger shark, photographed on February 18.

Sea Shepherd Australia director Jeff Hansen said there have been sharks with their tails missing, pulled in with chunks taken out of them or throwing up their stomach contents, which is like a berley attracting other sharks.

‘A tail-less tiger shark was caught by a Department of Fisheries patrol vessel on February 18, which Mr Hansen said showed sharks were being attracted close to shore by the others that had been hooked.

Cull patrols found nine dead tiger sharks on hooks in the first three weeks of the program.

Mr Hansen said his group would not interfere with the lines, after hooks were found to be missing off Cottesloe on March 2.

There were more reports last week of missing hooks, and anti-cull activists removed and dumped a drum line on the beach in front of Sculpture by the Sea patrons on Saturday .

‘I can completely understand why people are saying ‘What else can we do to protect our wildlife off our coast?’ Because up to 80 per cent of West Australians are against (the cull),’ Mr Hansen said.

Sea Shepherd and other anti-cull activists lost their Supreme Court bid for an injunction against the cull on March 5, four days after the hooks started disappearing.

Mr Hansen said his group would not break the law by interfering with the drum lines, an offence that attracts fines of up to $25,000 fines or a 12-month jail sentence.

A Department of Premier and Cabinet spokesman said there had some evidence of tampering and the Fisheries Department was investigating, but there would be no comment until the inquiry was completed.

The spokesman would also not comment about claims that sharks were feeding on those caught close to shore.