an killed in a shark attack was spearfishing illegally


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Posted by on December 13, 2004 at 08:06:40:

In Reply to: Man dies in horror shark attack (Queensland Australia) posted by on December 11, 2004 at 11:07:49:

Mark Thompson, 38, from Clifton Beach near Cairns, was with two friends at Opal Reef, about 75km from Cairns, when the shark attacked about 1pm on Saturday.

He suffered massive leg wounds and died before paramedics could reach him.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries acting Cairns district manager Robert Hall said while they felt deeply for the Thompson family's loss, they would eventually need to know the exact location of the attack.

"Opal Reef itself and areas surrounding Opal Reef are known as the Green Zone, while above the northern part of Opal Reef is a public appreciation area," he said. The Green Zone is closed to fishing under federal law to protect the Great Barrier Reef and its depleting fish stocks, while spearfishing is restricted in public appreciation zones.

Mr Hall said fisheries inspectors would also need to investigate exactly what the group was fishing for.

"If you're in the water and you see a crayfish or mackerel, or a trevally or a pelagic species you can spear those, but you can't spear a coral trout or a red emperor or any other reef fish," he said.

However Queensland Boating and Fisheries north Queensland acting regional manager Bob Koch said it was quite feasible the group were spearfishing for mackerel in blue water off the Reef, which was legal.

He said there was no evidence yet to suggest the group was doing anything wrong.

"It depends on what they were doing, its depends on what kind of fish they were catching and where they were," Mr Koch said.

"We'll eventually be looking to answer those questions, but not immediately and not with a view to prosecute.

"We are aware this is a very sensitive time and we don't wish to add to that."
REPORTS that the man killed in a shark attack off the far north Queensland coast was spearfishing illegally will be investigated by fisheries inspectors.

From last Monday until midnight today, recreational and commercial fishers are banned from catching coral reef fin fish to protect them during spawning.

Meanwhile, Mr Thompson's wife Caroline and their 10-year-old daughter requested

the media to respect their privacy as they struggled to deal with their loss.



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