A juvenile Great White Shark was run down by a boat, herded into shallow water, dragged by the tail up a boat ramp and then bashed to death with a metal pole.
The 40-year-old man who delivered the death blows at Sussex Inlet on the south coast of New South Wales has been fined more than $18,000 including court costs.
Great White Sharks are protected under Australian law. Western Australia has an exemption to run its large shark cull program via drum lines off popular beaches.
Glenn Tritton, Director of Fisheries Compliance with the state government, says the man from Glenbrook was found guilty by the Wollongong Local Court of harming a threatened species.
A second man who used his boat to tow the shark was charged with harming a threatened species. He entered a plea of guilty and received a six month good behaviour bond.
“Great White Sharks are protected in Australian waters, they are listed as a threatened species in NSW which means it is illegal to catch and keep, buy, sell, possess or harm great white sharks and their habitats,” Mr Tritton said.
A witnesses told fisheries officers the 40-year-old man deliberately used his boat to hit the shark several times while herding it into shallow water.
The shark sustained the majority of its injuries from the boat’s propeller.
A rope was tied onto the shark’s tail and the second boat then towed the shark back to a boat ramp.
The shark was then hit on the head with a metal pole several times.
The magistrate fined the 40-year-old man $8,000 and costs of $8,865 for professional and $1,238 for witness costs.
Mr Tritton said the conviction sends a strong message that harming threatened species will not be tolerated.
“Great white sharks are found along the NSW coastline and as apex predators at the top of the food chain, they play an important role in marine ecosystems,” he said.
“The low population numbers following historical exploitation, plus their low reproductive rate, long gestation and late age at sexual maturity lead to slow recovery of the great white shark population and demonstrate the need for its protection.”