How a selfie with a shark landed a man behind bars

A SELFIE with a two-metre-long shark has landed a Urangan fisher time behind bars.

Chad John Runnalls, 39, appeared via video link from prison in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Wednesday afternoon, facing a $235 fine from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for illegally catching a shark bigger than 1.5m.

Runnalls, who represented himself, said he had faced court at the end of August for another matter, but his parole was withdrawn because of the outstanding fine.

"I was going to contest, but now I'm not going to contest, I was hoping I can get it dealt with today," Runnalls said.

The defendant pleaded guilty to catching the oversized shark.

Prosecutor representing the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Deryk Smith told the court in early July last year, Runnalls and his mates were fishing from the Urangan Pier when they caught and landed the shark.

"At 7pm, a member of the group caught a 2 metre shark, believed to be a sandbar whaler," Mr Smith said.

"Another group member removed the hook and the group took pictures with the shark.

"The shark laid on the pier for 15 minutes before it was dropped from the pier into the water below."

Mr Smith said a member of the public took photos of the group's activities, which were uploaded to Facebook.

"The images came to the attention of the department on July 21," he said.

"The defendant was issued a notice."

Runnalls said he "pretty much" agreed with the prosecutor's submission, but said he did not believe the shark was out of the water for 15 minutes.

Mr Smith said the law requires illegal fish be released immediately, and the fact that it was out of the water long enough for photos to be taken with it meant it was not an immediate release.

Magistrate Graeme Tatnell sentenced Runnalls to pay $300 as well as $86.80 in court costs.

A conviction was not recorded.

 

Queensland shark fishing laws

Sharks larger than 1.5m should be set free by cutting off the trace/line.

Sharks smaller than 1.5m should be returned to the water as soon as possible.

Avoid removing hooks unless preparations have been made in advance.

Never remove hooks by hand.

Use rapidly degrading hooks.



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