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'What the hell?' Man's morbid act after catching tiny hammerhead shark

A man claims he watched a Far North Queensland fisherman kill a baby hammerhead shark in a horrific act of animal cruelty.

Ryan Dowling, from Cairns, told Yahoo News Australia he watched a fisherman reel in a “cute little baby” hammerhead shark at Palm Cove on Tuesday afternoon.

“He laughed as he pulled it in and retrieved his hook,” Mr Dowling said.

“He then pulled out a knife, cut it from its tail right through to its head slicing it in half before throwing it back in the water.”

Mr Dowling said he hasn’t had a chance to report what he saw to authorities, but when asked if he thought the act was cruel he said “of course”.

A fisherman holds a baby hammerhead shark in Palm Cove, Cairns. A witness claims the man reeled the shark in, cut it in half and threw it back in the water.
Ryan Dowling claims he witnessed a man hook in this baby hammerhead shark before cutting it in half and throwing it back in the water. Source: Facebook/ Ryan Dowling

“There’s no need to kill it,” he said. “It’s wrong to kill a baby shark.”

Dr Leo Guida, from the Australian Marine Conservation Society, identified the species as an endangered scalloped hammerhead pup.

“Scalloped hammerheads are endangered and we've seen their numbers decline by as much as 84 per cent in Queensland waters,” he said.

“Scalloped hammerheads, like all sharks, are critical to the health of the Great Barrier Reef as they keep food webs in check. They should be given as much protection as possible.”

Dr Guida added an unwanted fish caught still alive should be “returned to the water as quickly and as safely as possible”.

A fisherman is pictured holding a baby hammerhead sharks in Palm Cove, Cairns. A bystander claims he saw the fisherman reel in this shark, cut it in half and throw it back into the water.
Mr Dowling said the act was cruel and a fisherman agreed with him. Source: Facebook/ Ryan Dowling

Mr Dowling posted pictures of the man on Facebook.

“What the hell is wrong with people today?” he wrote.

A man, who claimed to be a fisherman, wrote the story had him “mortified”.

“It’s just wrong to do to any animal,” he wrote.

“I hate sharks when I’m fishing as they steal my hard-earned baits and hooks, but when we land them they are quickly de-hooked and released.”

In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, a Fisheries Queensland spokesperson said suspected illegal fishing, whether seen online or in person, should be reported via the department’s hotline on 1800 017 116 or the online Fishwatch form.

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