Shocking Photos Show Piles Of Dead Sharks Caught In Fishing Nets On Great Barrier Reef

Photos have emerged showing how gill nets on the Great Barrier Reef are leading to dozens of sharks being killed.

The images were taken earlier this year, according to the Daily Mail, and are being used by the World Wildlife Fund to call on authorities to stop using the nets to ensure no more animals needlessly die.

WWF Australia chief executive Dermot O'Gorman said in a statement: "There is nothing illegal in any of these images and in some ways that makes them more disturbing.

Credit: WWF Australia
Credit: WWF Australia

"These pictures show that gill nets are indiscriminate killers in that they drown whatever swims into them including many iconic and threatened species."

In the body pile, you can see hammerhead and saw sharks, with some of them having their snouts cut off. Saw sharks are one of the most endangered species of sharks in the ocean at the moment according to a WWF zoologist.

In addition to that, there's also a marine turtle, believed to be a flatback.

Gill nets are anchored to the sea floor and animals can easily become entangled in them. Once caught in the netting, it's incredibly difficult for them to get free so most, if not all, simply die from exhaustion and starvation.

Credit: WWF Australia
Credit: WWF Australia

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority said: "The nets are used to target species, typically, gummy shark, saw shark and elephant fish.

"Gill nets are anchored to the ocean floor and when fish swim into the net, their gills, fins and spines become entangled.

"They are normally implemented in waters less than 100 metres deep."

Three years ago, WWF raised more than $200,000 to buy and retire two shark fishing licences in a bid to save 20,000 sharks.

WWF-Australia Conservation Director Dr Gilly Llewellyn said: "The good news is that thanks to the generosity of our supporters, WWF will prevent two massive 1.2 kilometre nets from returning to shark fishing."

Credit: WWF Australia
Credit: WWF Australia

The Cairns Post reported there were a whopping 125,000 sharks caught in nets last year.

"We're calling on the next Australian government to help create a Net Free North and to end targeted shark fishing in the Great Barrier Reef by providing adequate financial adjustment for affected fishers to remove the last 3 remaining industrial sized gill nets from the whole GBR," Mr O'Gorman said.

WWF Australia is hoping the images cause people to ask the government to get rid of gill nets from north of Cooktown through to the tip of the Cape.

Featured Image Credit: WWF Australia

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