A man is accused of stealing a monitoring tag off a great white shark and causing false alarms.
A 48-year-old Australian man has been charged with taking a tracking tag off a great white shark he unintentionally caught.
The man continued to use the tag for almost a month, inadvertently activating many fake shark alerts.
The accused, who is from Albany, removed the shark’s monitoring tag before releasing it back into the water. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development attached an acoustic tag to the shark as part of a monitoring program, according to Perth Now.
Between Aug. 13 and Sept. 4, the accused reportedly used the tag to trigger network receivers in local seas seven times, according to authorities. On Oct. 1, a police search was launched, and the tag was discovered on a property in West Australia’s great southern area. Why the man allegedly set off the warning signs is unknown.
The individual has been charged with one count of theft, according to Albany police. Senior Sergeant Hugh Letessier, the police officer-in-charge, told The West Australian (paywall) that the alleged behavior was “irresponsible” and produced “unnecessary dread.” “It leaves an untagged white shark in the waters off Albany, which we know about. Furthermore, the false warning instills unwarranted dread in homeowners and those who use the water “Sgt. Letessier, a senator, stated.
On November 4, the accused will appear in Albany magistrate’s court.
According to accounts, sharks in Western Australia have been fitted with up to 34 acoustic receivers. The tag sends out its own low-frequency “clicks,” which the receivers pick up on. These real-time alerts are then broadcast to the general public via SharkSmart and Surf Life Saving to swimmers in the region. Since the program began, 115 sharks have been tagged, including great white sharks up to 4.1 meters long.
A giant great white shark was recently tagged off the coast of Western Australia, and authorities estimated it to be the second-largest in the state’s history. The female, who stood at 5.3 meters, was only 10 centimeters short of the world record. “It’s really rare to find such a large white shark so close to the metropolitan area,” Department of Fisheries spokesman Peter Godfrey told 9 News.