VIA – PERTH NOW
The shark film they wanted to be secret
Last updated: November 20, 2011
From: The Sunday Times
November 19, 2011 5:00PM
HEY are the images the Department of Fisheries have been accused of trying to hide.
A 5m great white shark circling an underwater camera in Cockburn Sound.
The footage, available on PerthNow, was taken on October 21 by a stationary Fisheries camera at a popular dive spot known as D9, where a sunken barge lies 3km offshore in 12m of water.
The camera was set up to monitor snapper spawning, but the film shows a big great white circling four times within just a metre of it.
It was posted on the WA Divers website and YouTube, but removed a few days later. Local divers posted angry comments online, saying they should have been told of the shark sighting.
Diver Matthew Ballard, who provided the footage to The Sunday Times, said he and his diving mates would now think twice about taking the plunge.
And he asked whether department officers had removed the footage to stop it being viewed by more people. He said it should have been left online to warn people of the danger of diving in Cockburn Sound, south of Perth.
“The dive season started this week and we will definitely be looking over our shoulders on the lookout for that massive white,” he said. “This footage needs to be online for everybody to see and there is a duty of care by Fisheries, but they are not doing anything about it. Fisheries pulled the footage because they are covering up shark sightings in the area so they don’t scare the public, but that’s leaving people’s lives in danger.”
A department spokesman said it was unclear how the four-minute video ended up on the internet and who removed it days later.
Fisheries strategic compliance manager Tina Thorne said local council rangers and Water Police were alerted about the shark, but not the general public, because the creature was a long way offshore and posed no immediate public hazard.
Also this week, some of WA’s most experienced fishermen accused the State Government and Fisheries of talking down the number of sharks menacing our waters.
Fisheries officers have been insisting great white sharks are extremely slow to breed and a recovery of the population will take decades…
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