The government has authorized the use of explosives to catch a killer whale shark, one of the ocean’s most dangerous predators, in order to protect commercial fishing interests in a small town in New Zealand.
Local government officials in Rotorua, on the West Coast of New Zealand, are struggling to figure out how to set up a sophisticated marine mesh system to protect sea lions from being killed by sharks, so they are considering dropping explosions on harpoon catches for sharks. The sharks, which can reach 12 feet in length, will not be killed by the bursts of hydrochloric acid, but rather, they’ll be “fried” for food, according to an interview with a local resident quoted in a blog post.
The plan is contentious in Rotorua, where many residents are clamoring for exemptions for the commercial fishing industry, and there’s no telling how people will respond to a proposal that sounds like it will involve exploding the brakes of a delivery truck at a mall — but is actually about feeding sharks. “It is all about business, and sustainability,” Rotorua mayor Lianne Dalziel said of the city’s proposal to local media. “If [sharks] are caught or killed, it is that much more inconvenient for the fishing industry to get those fish.”
The town is reportedly struggling to find a way to measure and rate the likelihood of shark attacks, and so won’t be able to obtain the full extent of information about the community’s overall risk of shark attacks. But locals are pushing back hard against the idea, even if it means that commercially valuable fish could be at risk, according to the New Zealand Herald. “It’s really horrendous,” one fisher told the newspaper. “That’s a problem we’ve got to face and we’re trying to solve it by injecting acid in a seafood trap.”
Read the full story at The Atlantic.
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