A banjo shark was needlessly killed by teenagers at the Geelong waterfront,
A banjo shark was needlessly killed by teenagers at the Geelong waterfront,

Kids witness shark slaughter: 'It was a delicate little thing'

HORRIFIED onlookers say a harmless banjo shark was brutally stabbed to death in front of families and young children on the Geelong waterfront.

Malcolm Ralton said the banjo shark, also known as a fiddler ray, had been like a pet to yachtsmen for more than five years before wetsuit-clad teens butchered and tossed it back into the water, about 5.30pm Saturday.

"There were three of them with spearguns and one with a knife," Mr Ralton said. "One shot the little banjo shark at about three foot in size, hauled it up onto the wall on his spear and just started frantically stabbing it with his knife.

"It was a delicate little thing that wouldn't hurt anybody."

Mr Ralton said young people spear fishing in Corio Bay was a growing concern.

"The kids (watching on) were just absolutely horrified," he said.

The State Government strengthened recreational fishing legislation last month to better protect stingrays, skates and banjo sharks in Victoria.

The new rules prohibit the possession of stingrays, skates or banjo sharks greater than 1.5m wide and reduce the combined daily bag limit for fish of those species less than 1.5m wide from five to one.

It followed a lengthy campaign by the Project Banjo Action Group, which garnered more than 33,000 signatures after numerous banjo sharks were found stabbed in waters off the Mornington Peninsula.

Project Banjo spokeswoman PT Hirschfield described the act as "outrageous".

"That is an act of cruelty and brutality, there's no excuse for that whatsoever," she said.

"Anyone who is witnessed committing blatant animal cruelty like that need to be held accountable."

Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville said it was important we protect our oceans, reefs and creatures that inhabit them.

"These sea creatures are appreciated by families and locals, attract tourists to jetties and are appreciated by divers," she said.



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