Monstrous 13ft long shark caught in Australia as surfers call for cull
Graphic photographs have emerged of a large tiger shark about 13 feet long that was killed off eastern Australia – but mystery surrounds the images, including how or when the creature died.
The photographs were apparently posted to Facebook by Geoff Brooks, a resident of Byron Bay in northern New South Wales, who said the shark was caught last weekend and the carcass was handed to the national science agency.
But the national science agency said it had not been contacted about the shark.
“Yes, it’s real,” Mr Brooks said, before adding: “It isn’t my photo”.
Authorities in the state of New South Wales said the shark, which appears to be on a fishing vessel, looked to be about 13 feet long and seemed to have been caught by a longline.
"This size is not unusual for a tiger shark," a state government spokesman told Fairfax Media.
A local conservation group said the shark was believed to have been caught off Nine Mile Beach, north of Byron Bay, during the past week.
But there were also suggestions the shark may have died after becoming caught on a drum line – a large baited hook that is used to cull sharks
A fisherman named only Matthew told the local Northern Star newspaper that he caught the shark “a while ago” and kept the teeth as souvenirs. He said he was trying to bring in a smaller shark which was swallowed by the tiger shark shortly before he caught it.
"I was the one that took that photo and I was the one that caught that fish," he claimed.
The shark emerged as a local group of surfers – who typically resist efforts to control the creatures – called for a cull to prevent beach closures.
About 200 surfers from beaches around Byron Bay, a popular tourist hotspot, held a meeting on Monday night to discuss the sharks and about 95 per cent supported a limited cull. The cull would focus on dangerous great white sharks which have been regularly spotted in the area.
"Surfers are more environmentally aware than most,” Don Munro, who organised the meeting, told Fairfax Media. “We live in the water, we have an appreciation that we're in their domain but ... now it's just gone crazy and no one really knows why. The thing is, what price do we put on a [human] life?"
There has been a spate of shark attacks off the eastern and western coast of Australia in recent years, including numerous deaths. Tadashi Nakahara, a 41-year-old surfer from Japan, was mauled to death in February at a beach in northern New South Wales and two other casualties of recent attacks remain in hospital.