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Shark Rescue at Coffs Harbour




A Professional team of Commercial divers from Jetty Dive Centre,

Solitary Islands Marine Park and National Marine Science Centre successfully removed rope from 3 endangered Grey Nurse Sharks at South Solitary Island on Saturday.


After a report from some private divers on Friday, the team acted quickly to locate the sharks before they moved on. It was unusual to see that many with their tail roped in one location. The Grey Nurse Shark which is listed as critically endangered, migrate up and down the east coast of Australia, often only staying in one location for a short time. At the time they were seen, approximately 40 sharks were in the area.


The Commercial dive team consisted of Mike Davey, owner of Jetty Dive Centre, Brett Vercoe from the Solitary Islands Marine Park, Steve Dalton from the National Marine Science Centre and Mark Bottcher, also from Jetty Dive. Debbie Davey, Chris Yorke and Linsday Devery from Jetty Dive came along to video and photograph the event.


Using approved methods and a pole that is used for Whale dis-entanglement, with sharp scissor style blades, the sharks were approached from behind and the rope cut free from the sharks. Whilst that sounds easy, it is not always that simple. “The first two sharks were very easy, with the pole working great, the third one was more difficult, but after a bit of patience and technique, the shark was released.


Two of the sharks were entangled with rope around their tails which is probably an attempt by fishermen to release them from fishing nets. “We commend the fisherman for making the effort to release the endangered shark, however, the rope that is left around the tail slowly kills the shark by infection.  The rope becomes heavily coated with organisms such as barnacles which react against the skin.” Mike Davey said. “Perhaps if a method was developed to pull the cut rope off the tail as the animal is released, this slow death could be avoided”.


This disentanglement was only able to be undertaken with appropriate approvals by relevant government organisations and highly trained personnel.

Jetty Dive Centre, the Solitary Islands Marine Park and National Marine Science centre are all a part of the Coffs Coast Marine Conservation Committee and are committed to the local environment.   The whole event of the last shark was captured on video, and with the use of Facebook, the news of the success has spread virally across the world.  Can be viewed on page.

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