17 March 2016

AFMA has had a number of requests for a copy of the Wildlife Interaction Report prepared by our Scientific Observer regarding the Geelong Star’s interaction with a whale shark on 11 February 2016.

All interactions with protected species from the Commonwealth’s 300 plus fishing fleet are reported on a quarterly basis on AFMA’s website. However, from time-to-time where there is a high level of interest or confusion about particularly rare or unusual interactions, AFMA will publish a notice on our website to clarify what happened.

The observer report can be found on AFMA’s website and is consistent with earlier statements by AFMA, Whale shark interaction with Geelong Star and Whale shark interaction – video footage consistent with observer report.

As the report states, a crane was used to lift the whale shark back over the side where it swam away without apparent injury or bleeding. As confirmed through AFMA’s review of video from our electronic monitoring system, the crane was only used to return the whale shark to the water. Without use of a crane, the whale shark would have spent significantly more time out of the water, reducing its chances of survival. It would have also been difficult, if not impossible, for crew to return the whale shark to the water without considerable risk to their own safety.

More information on AFMA’s monitoring of Commonwealth fisheries can be found at afma.gov.au