National Shark Campaign Coordinator for Sea Shepherd, Natalie Banks was asked to assist with the release of “Olivia”, a Hawksbill Turtle at Julian Rocks in New South Wales today, after Australian Seabird Rescue (which also rescues turtles) heard about the number of turtles caught on drum lines within Queensland.
Australian Seabird Rescue, based in Ballina in northern New South Wales, made a strategic decision to release “Olivia” at a Marine Park where there are no drum lines in place, and held off on the release until they knew for sure that no smart drum lines were in New South Wales’ water.
After spending some time liaising with Rochelle Ferris and Kathrina Southwell of Australia Seabird Rescue, going through the numbers of turtles caught on drum lines as a result of the Queensland shark control program, Kathrina spoke to the media about her concerns about, not only Olivia, but other turtles being caught on the newly tested smart drum lines.
“It has been great to meet so many like-minded people and organisations focussing on the same issue in regards to smart drum lines and voicing their concerns as a result,” Natalie said.
“Australian Seabird Rescue is just one of many relationships formed as a result of our work regarding the push for non-lethal shark mitigation initiatives.”
Olivia had been with Australian Seabird Rescue for 10 months after she was rescued at Boundary Creek, South Ballina back in February. She was extremely underweight at 6kgs, exhausted and depressed as a result of suffering from float syndrome caused from a lung infection. Olivia did not initially take to treatment well but eventually the courses of antibiotics and vitamins took a hold and she was freed of all parasites and infections and weighed 8kg at the time of her release.
Over 5,000 turtles have been caught in the Queensland Shark Control Program since it started in 1962. Sea Shepherd has been campaigning to remove drum lines and shark nets from Australian waters and for the use of non-lethal, scientifically proven programs to be used instead.
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