HMAS Huon Crew Recovers Longlines

Australian Navy personnel have come to the rescue of sharks trapped in abandoned longlines recently, whilst on patrol east of Ashmore Island.

HMAS Huon, a Coastal Mine Hunter, discovered five abandoned longlines approximately two to three nautical miles inside the Australian Fishing Zone. The longlines retrieved were believed to be from foreign fishing boats suspected of fishing north of Australian waters and had drifted into the Australian Fishing Zone. Each line was approximately 400 meters in length with up to 25 hooks.

Using HMAS Huon’s sophisticated sweep deck, Navy personnel recovered all five longlines and cut free, two 1-1.5 metre tiger sharks and one 3 metre oceanic whaler shark.

Huon’s Diving Officer, Lieutenant Sam Mairs, said the crew jumped into action when the sharks were found to be alive and tangled in the line.

Longlines are set either on the ocean floor or near the surface on the water with the surface longline buoyed by styrofoam or plastic floats. Longlines can be tens of kilometres long and carry thousands of hooks.

Navy works together with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Customs and Border Protection to combat illegal foreign fishing and where abandoned fishing gear is found to remove it from the environment.

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Press release, Image: Australian Navy

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