Killers tune in for tuna
By Andrew Darby
The Age.com au
7th October 2002
Killer whales have found a new and easy source of food - prime southern bluefin tuna and blue eye trevalla caught on fishing lines.
Fishermen say the intelligent mammals have learned to pluck fish from the lines and are teaching successive generations of whales the habit. All efforts to thwart them - including firing explosive charges - have failed.
"It was like ringing a dinner gong," Tasmanian fisherman George Mure said. "It wasn't long before they learnt 'bang' meant food."
The director of the Tasmanian Fishing Industry Council, Bob Lister, said killer whales had learnt to cruise a line many kilometres long, set in the top 90 metres of the water column.
"We are finding the killer whales are actually moving along the line and taking the fish, and they seem to be taking their youngsters along and teaching them, too."