Found at Sea Collection founder Etoile Smulders, and owner of Ladyshark Expeditions, Kori Garza spent a few days in Indonesian Papua freediving and exploring new whale shark hot spots during the month of January.
noun: bycatch - The unwanted fish and other marine creatures caught during commercial fishing for a different species. 🦈🦈🦈
Kori and I went to a remote part of Papua to scope out the shark situation there.
This is what we found.
In this particular part of Papua, these little sharks were often the victim of bycatch. The fisherman here are not looking to fish sharks and have absolutely no use for them. Accidentally hooking or netting sharks is actually a big inconvenience for them. They are not comfortable with handling live sharks and yet do not want to lose valuable fishing hooks, ( something that is hard to come by in this remote, wild, and forgotten part of the world ) so they won’t just go ahead and cut the fishing line. 🎣🎣🎣 So instead of trying to remove the hooks from a sharks mouth whilst they are alive so they can be set free, they wait till the shark dies so that they can retrieve the fishing hook then throw the dead shark back to the sea. They have no desire to eat the shark or snap off the fins to try and sell them somewhere else. We encountered a few incidences of this during our time here. Luckily we were able o save these two little guys, but others were a lot less fortunate.
Found At Sea Collective is currently working on a project to provide fisherman like these guys with proper shark hook removing pliers, so that they can feel safe and comfortable with removing a hook from a sharks mouth whilst it is still alive and thus set it free.