Social media users were left concerned for the welfare of a shark snared by a drumline off Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Wednesday.
Drone video and an image showing a 2.45m tiger shark caught off Bronte Beach received close to 2000 likes and hundreds of comments after it was posted to Instagram.
Unlike in Queensland where sharks can be caught for hours, NSW authorities use SMART drumlines which send out an alert once a shark, or other marine animal, is caught.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) mandate that contractors must respond to an alert within 30 minutes.
Social media users outraged by shark drumline video
For Jason Iggleten, who filmed the incident and uploaded it to his popular DroneSharkApp account, he was concerned about the amount of time it took the contractor to release the animal.
The drumline was first activated at 10:24am and the contractor arrived at 10:45am, tagged the shark at 11:00am, and later released the shark at 11:23am – a total of 59 minutes.
He noted after its release, the shark was "quite motionless as it sank below the surface".
Speaking with Yahoo News Australia, Mr Iggleten said he was particularly concerned that the shark was left tethered to the boat.
“You can see from the photos it’s got a noose around its neck, and it’s stuck there for 20 minutes,” he said.
Social media users went further, describing what they saw as “torture”, “sickening” and “very sad”.
“Seems like a long time to put a tag in. What were they doing the whole time?” one person wrote.
“Why are they dragging the shark? This is very sad,” someone else said.
“This makes me so mad,” another person added.
However, not all comments were negative, with one person thanking authorities for their work.
"Great job by the contractors and also the DPI by creating a safe environment for the the ocean swimmers and also the families using our beaches," they wrote.
NSW authorities defend shark drumline program
Despite the concern raised online, DPI said the contractor acted within its guidelines and confirmed the shark was released “in good health”.
“The SMART drumline program is operated in accordance with and authorised by animal care and ethics approvals and operating permits,” a spokesperson said.
"Contractors also collect a range of measurements and samples from the shark, as part of a comprehensive scientific data collection procedure.
“This usually takes 15-20 mins depending on the ocean conditions.”
DPI said because of its 30 minute response requirement, sharks caught by their drumlines have a “high survival rate” of 99 per cent.
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