WPY 2013

Photograph Details

Commended 2013

World in Our Hands Award

Justin Gilligan, Australia

Hook, line and sinking

Grey nurse sharks are protected in Australian waters, yet they continue to be killed through recreational and commercial fishing. In the 1950s and 1960s, vast numbers were slaughtered because of the misconception that they were man-eaters. Their placid nature made them easy targets. But Seal Rocks off New South Wales remains a grey nurse shark hotspot. It's remote and tricky to get to, and Justin had tried unsuccessfully to photograph there on several occasions. But on this day, the visibility was perfect. 'The day was amazing, and I was so excited to be down there,' says Justin - until this shark swam into view, a hook embedded in its jaw. It was his most important shot of the day, highlighting the plight of sharks the world over. At least a hundred million are killed annually mainly for the shark-fin trade.

Technical specification

Nikon D300 + 10.5mm f2.8 lens; 1/160 sec at f5; ISO 400; Ikelite housing; two DS160 strobes.

Seal Rocks, New South Wales, Australia: latitude -32.4352, longitude 152.529 Seal Rocks, New South Wales, Australia: latitude -32.4352, longitude 152.529

Seal Rocks, New South Wales, Australia

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Justin Gilligan

Justin Gilligan, Australia

Justin works as a freelance photojournalist for a range of nature and travel magazines. He has worked on numerous projects within Australia's Commonwealth and state fisheries and has been contracted to conduct field research in some of the country's most spectacular marine environments. More recently his photojournalism efforts have focused on Australia's temperate reef systems.

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