One of the NSW MESA SeaWeek events was a dive to visit our featured animal this year - the Grey Nurse. The Greys are currently aggrigating for breeding off our coast. Unfortunately this makes them particularly vulnerable to fishermen in areas where they agrigate that are not protected sites. 4 of the 9 sharks we say on our dive had hooks.
We checked each hook carefully and found that every hook was not of a type to cause minimal damage to animals hooked. All hooks were stainless steel with barbs (so no rusting out), traces were also stainless steel. The use of unbarbed circle hooks made of a material that rusts quickly gives released animals a much better chance in the wild.
It is illegal to take a Grey Nurse in NSW but many unintended hookings occur in areas where Nurse aggregate close to known fishing grounds. It is not surprising that nurse aggregate near food sourses and this is where they become unintended by-catch.