Commercial Fishing Deadly Bycatch Port Stephens Port Stephens by News Of The Area - Modern Media - September 22, 2020 The dead marine life lined up for the count conducted by Marine Biologist Ryan. FOR those that volunteer to save animals, some days are harder than others. Advertise with News of The Area today. It’s worth it for your business. Message us. Phone us – (02) 4981 8882. Email us – [email protected] This week, for the team at Sea Shelter, was a tough one. They were called out to Jimmys Beach at Hawks Nest where a fishing operation had discarded the bycatch to die. The volunteers went into action only to find a heartbreaking number of sharks and rays dead and near dead on the shores of our normally beautiful waterway. Sea Shelter Volunteers alongside Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters staff, spent an afternoon and night trying to rescue as many of the discarded marine life as they could save. Marine Biologist and shark and ray enthusiast Ryan Pereira told News Of The Area, “This was the result of bycatch from a fishing operation, it happens all over the world but this time we were here. “The team was unable to save 2 blue spotted mask rays, 133 Kapala stingarees, 7 common stingarees, one brown stingaree, one sole, one Pygmy Triggerfish, 96 toad fish and there was a bunch more which had already eaten by the pelicans before the count could be completed.” A total of 241 marine animals died on site. “At the time of publication Sea Shelter officially have surviving four Kapala and one common stingaree- we know at least one will survive as it is eating now. “This is from about 28 that were rescued and taken back to Irukandji for care.” The team returned around 30 animals to the waters and there are now another six still alive in care at Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters in isolation tanks. It is hoped that these will be released when they are healthy. Ironically, Mr Pereira was interviewed two weeks earlier by News Of The Area, saying that the region was home to responsible commercial fishers locally who in the majority try and do the right thing. “Our team of four volunteers worked all afternoon and into the night,” he said. If you would like to support or volunteer to participate in the work that Sea Shelter does to rescue marine life and clean up marine environments you can visit their website or Facebook page. The team at Sea Shelter ask that everyone remains vigilant and report marine life in danger to the organization or to National Parks and Wildlife. By Marian SAMPSON Small survivors will be returned to their environment when deemed healthy.