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
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 Garza and Etoile Smulders were part of a group of divers swimming off the coast of Papua, Indonesia, at the beginning of this month when they spotted sharks by fishing boats
The divers swam up to the sharks and heroically released them
The pair moved the nets to release five sharks after spotting they were in a perilous situation
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.
They then used pliers to cut fishing line and their hands to remove hooks from their mouths
Etoile said: ‘We asked the fishermen to take the time to pull them out of the nets so that they could be set free.
‘The fishermen allowed us to remove the sharks from the hooks and set them free as well.
‘At the end of the week all seven sharks had swam off safely into the deep blue.
‘The fishermen aren’t evil men, they aren’t monsters.
‘They’re just trying to feed their families, so pointing fingers, and shouting hatred isn’t effective.
‘Hopefully their perspective grew a little this week and I hope they continue to release any sharks caught as bycatch.’