Green around the gills: Danny's shark prompts 4000-strong debate

Not planking, just sharking: this Facebook photo of Danny Green triggered a perhaps unexpectedly large debate on the ethics of shark fishing.
Not planking, just sharking: this Facebook photo of Danny Green triggered a perhaps unexpectedly large debate on the ethics of shark fishing.

The best thing about having 280,000-plus Facebook friends might be that you can post a photo of yourself with a freshly caught tiger shark and be assured of a robust online debate.

The worst thing? Well perhaps it's the same thing.

Danny Green's official Facebook page has more than 280,000 likes but Perth's four-time boxing world champion may have bitten off more than he could chew - quite literally - when he posted pictures of himself on Monday with his "catch of the day"

The first image, which captured Green lying next to the tiger shark, had drawn more than 1000 comments by Tuesday night and kick-started a tit-for-tat debate about the ethics of recreational shark fishing.

A second photo, accompanied by a caption in which Green promised to eat as much as possible of the shark and compared the dining experience to retail fish and chips, proved to be an even bigger conversation starter. It had more than 20,000 "likes" and close to 4000 comments by the time it was removed from Green's page on Tuesday afternoon.

By comparison, a photo Green posted in the aftermath of his world title win over Shane Cameron last November attracted "only" 18,000 "likes" and 1700 comments.

Comments on the Green shark photos were a mix of those who defended his right to catch and eat what he saw fit and others who suggested the boxer think again about his fishing habits:

"The shark wasn't strung up, beaten and gutted all for a camera. It was 1 shark caught and kept to feed friends and family,"one supporter wrote.

"So many groups are working so hard to protect our sharks and a man with your profile sends this message to his fans. Killing sharks is not fun, nor is teaching your kids to enjoy it being a good role model. We need to protect our Oceans and these sharks are being hunted like never before, I hope you can rethink your actions Danny and perhaps have a good chat to Sea Shepherd and WA Shark Conservation and Marine Groups who can enlighten you about this serious issue," another poster urged.

There could still be a postscript to the ethical debate, with the Department of Fisheries confirming it was making an assessment as to whether Green's catch was "oversized" - an issue raised by several Facebook posters.

"The Department of Fisheries is aware of the photograph and is making an assessment prior to any further investigation of the matter," Fisheries regional manager metro Tony Cappelluti said.

"From the photo alone it is not possible to be definitive about the size of the shark, so Fisheries and Marine Officers are currently gathering information, before we make any decision on whether any further action is appropriate."

An excerpt from the Department of Fisheries' laws on shark fishing in WA.

Fishing recreationally for tiger sharks is allowed in WA but in the south and west coast bioregions - south of 27 degrees below the equator and west of Eucla - a legal catch can be no larger than 700 millimetres measured from the front of the dorsal fin on the top of the shark to the back of the smaller rear dorsal fin.

This equates to a shark of about 1.8 metres in length.

Green's Facebook page does not specify where the shark was caught but the 39-year-old did seek suggestions from fans on January 23 about where he and his son Archie might be able to fish for a shark and inquired about the suitability of Cockburn Sound.

The boxer, who is listed as 1.85 metres appears to be shorter than the shark in the Facebook photo but again took to social media on Tuesday afternoon to stress the legality of his catch.

G'day legends! For the record that shark was LEGALsize, regulation length between dorsal n back fins. Peace Greeny — Danny Green (@dannygreenboxer) January 29, 2013

This story Green around the gills: Danny's shark prompts 4000-strong debate first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.