A group of divers turned rescuers to free sharks snared in fishing nets –even placing their hands in the animal’s mouths to remove hooks. Kori Garza and Etoile Smulders and the other divers were swimming off the coast of Papua, Indonesia, at the beginning of this month.
The divers noticed the stranded sharks by some fishing boats and swam up to them after noticing their perilous situation. They freed five sharks by moving nets, used pliers to cut fishing line they were caught up in, before removing the hooks. Unfortunately they were too late to save all of them as one had already died.
Kori, who runs Ladyshark Expeditions, said: ‘The fishermen don’t target the sharks. ‘They have no interest in eating them or selling them, they’re just an innocent victim of bycatch. ‘Accidentally hooking or netting sharks is actually a big inconvenience for them. ‘They are not comfortable with handling live sharks, yet do not want to lose valuable fishing hooks, which are hard to come by in remote areas, so they won’t cut the fishing line.’
A day before, Etoile who runs Found At Sea Collective had spotted a dead shark hanging off the traditional fishing platforms, called bagans. The following day, the group returned to the same place and that’s when they found this next group of sharks.