Dog walker’s disbelief as ‘dozens of sharks’ wash up on beach
A dog walker was in disbelief when he came across dozens of sharks washed up on a Merseyside beach.
Mick Preston, from Meols, Wirral, took a trip to Leasowe Beach on Wednesday night (May 17) after he saw a post on Facebook about dead sea creatures washed up on the sand. Mick, 37, said he counted 25 smooth-hound sharks on a small stretch of the beach leading up to Leasowe Golf Club.
However, the number of dead sea creatures on the beach is said to be much greater, with another man telling the ECHO he found over one hundred scattered across the sand.
Mick told the ECHO: “Me and the Mrs and dog went for a walk and it’s just not a nice sight. I’ve done this for a hobby for 22 years – I’ve fished the Mersey since I was 14.
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“The gillnets are the main problem. The fish that are surplus to requirements or ones they can’t sell, they’re just bumping off.
“By the time they’ve been dragged through water in the net and everything [they’re already dead]. They’re tossed overboard like garbage.
“Porpoises, seals, tope have all become quite regular in the Mersey and surrounding areas of Mersey. If we’re fighting against pollution and getting somewhere and these fish are moving back into Mersey…how long is it until numbers decrease dramatically and we don’t get them again?
“If a rod and line angler had caught it bringing it in they would take a photo and release it then.”
Mick said while he understands gillnetting is not illegal, he feels how the nets are being used needs to be monitored properly. He would like the North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NWIFCA) to have a greater presence on beaches in the area to help monitor the situation.
An NWIFCA spokesperson said: “Under current local and national legislation, it is not illegal to fish using gill-nets on foot in the Mersey Estuary, nor discard unwanted by-catch from those nets. NWIFCA officers regularly patrol the area and conduct inspections of this fishery to ensure compliance with specific regulations regarding the physical make-up of the nets in use.
“As a modern regulator, we are keen to receive and review evidence which enables us to consider how best to manage and regulate inshore fishing activity in the future. We would ask that any members of the public who have concerns regarding any fishing activity in the area contact us via our email [email protected].”
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