Target: Nick Rayns, Executive Manager, Fisheries Management Branch of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority
Goal: Conduct a full investigation of a suspicious encounter between the Geelong Star and a whale shark.
Whale sharks are the largest fish species in the world, and they are peaceful filter feeders living in warm tropical waters and feeding on tiny plankton. Unfortunately, like many other shark species, the whale shark has been classified as vulnerable and its population is diminishing due to threats from hunting and fishing net accidents.
The Geelong Star is a huge commercial fishing trawler regulated under the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), with nets extending behind and to the sides of the ship. The nets are dragged through the water as the ship moves, catching everything in their wake.
Because of its unprecedented capacity, the Geelong Star has been mired in controversy from the beginning. There have been numerous reports of dolphins, sharks, albatrosses, and seals being caught in its nets and killed. One such incident recently occurred when a whale shark became entangled in the Geelong Star’s nets. According to an AFMA spokesperson, the shark was freed and swam away unharmed. However, environmental groups have spoken out, accusing the AFMA of withholding information and downplaying the incident. These groups cite the trawler’s poor record with respecting protected species and lack of trust in the AFMA.
Recently leaked photographs reportedly taken by a crew member on the Geelong Star support environmentalist concerns. These images depict what appears to be a limp whale shark being lifted out of the water by its tail and laid out on the deck of the boat. Though there has not yet been any official confirmation of the details of the photos, their very existence is damning.
The clear inconsistencies between what the AFMA initially reported and what the photographic evidence shows raises many questions. Join us in demanding the full story from the AFMA, and if necessary, bring justice to the whale shark and condemn the Geelong Star.
Dear Mr. Rayns,
Fishing trawlers like the Geelong Star pose huge threats to the natural ecosystems they use as fishing grounds. Along with the fish they catch legally, the ships’ huge nets indiscriminately catch and kill delicate and vulnerable marine animals.
Recently, a whale shark was caught in the nets of the Geelong Star, and there have been conflicting claims about whether the shark was released or killed. An AFMA spokesperson has released a statement insisting that the shark was safely freed. However, there have been doubts regarding the truth of this story, and recent photographic evidence has only bolstered these doubts. These images, leaked by a crew member of the Geelong Star, directly contradict the statements made by the AFMA by showing a limp whale shark being lifted out of the water by its tail and laying on the deck of the ship.
These photos indicate that the AFMA has lied about the fate of the protected whale shark in order to avoid lawsuits and fines. The public deserves to know the true fate of this whale shark, and if the shark was killed, the Geelong Star must be held responsible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Derek Keats