Man Charged With Stealing Tag From Great White To Trigger False Shark Alarms
“Give my shark his tag back”, said constable Graham, firmly.
A 48-year-old man from Albany in West Australia has been charged with removing an acoustic tag from a great white he caught and released, for the purpose of triggering false shark alarms.
After reeling in the apex predator, the man seized the opportunity to nick the tag fitted to the shark by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development as part of a regional shark monitoring program. His incredible goof came to an end when said the tag was found by police during a search at a property in WA’s great southern region on 1 October.
Between 13 August and 4 September the man allegedly used the tag to activate shark warnings in the area. Albany police have charged the man with one count of stealing from sharks, they told Guardian Australia in a statement.
“WA police have charged a 48-year-old man with stealing in relation to the alleged stealing of an “acoustic monitor tag” used in the tracking of great white sharks by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD),” the statement read.
“The man is due to appear before the Albany magistrates court on 4 November 2021.”
Across Western Australia, there are 34 acoustic receivers for sharks that send real-time alerts which are relayed to the public via SharkSmart and Surf Life Saving when they are swimming in the area.
Since the program started, 115 sharks, including great whites sized up to 4.1 metres, have been tagged.
The sharks are each fitted with a tag that emits its own unique low-frequency “clicks” that are picked up by the receivers.
On 13 August the Albany Advertiser reported that a great white shark had been detected by one of two receivers in the Albany area near Middleton beach at 4.46pm and again at 4.53pm. Again, on 4 September, a great white shark was again detected by the Ellen Cove receiver at 7.56am.
But really, it was a man.
Albany police officer-in-charge Sen Sgt Hugh Letessier told the West Australian that the alleged behaviour was “irresponsible and causes unnecessary fear to residents and people using the water.” Which is completely true and valid.
More to come on this.
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