HSI SLAMS MINISTER’S UNPRECEDENTED CALL TO CULL TWO PROTECTED SPECIES IN AS MANY DAYS
21 April 2017
The Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg’s unprecedented call for culls of both sharks and crocodiles in the past two days are a shocking attempt to play politics with tragedies and are hardly conducive with someone who holds the portfolio for Environment Minister, says Humane Society International (HSI).
HSI believes it to be ironic that the Minister responsible for the protection and conservation of the environment is proactively calling for the destruction of species’ protected by virtue of his own legislation, and warns against making unsubstantiated claims about great white shark population numbers that “Blind Freddy can see”.
“The Minister needs to revisit his portfolio to understand his role and duties to protect the environment, not to cause destruction to it. His call for culls for two protected species in as many days shows he is massively out of step with the science and general opinion of the public against kneejerk measures that will do more harm than good to public safety and the environment,” says Michael Kennedy, HSI Director.
HSI maintains that lethal shark nets, drum lines and culls are ineffective at promoting beach safety, with research showing 65% of shark incidents happen at netted beaches. HSI supports the WA Minister for Fisheries in developing a sensible approach to mitigating the risk of shark attack, and commends the Queensland Environment Minister for taking the view that a cull of crocodiles would give the public a false sense of safety.
Mr Michael Kennedy continued, “It’s clear that the Federal Minister is simply playing politics with the issue in both Western Australia and Queensland, where the state Labor governments have already ruled out any cull of sharks or crocodiles. It’s a shocking tactic that will simply further an unhelpful agenda that does nothing to promote public safety in our beaches and waterways.”
HSI Head of Campaigns Nicola Beynon added, “The Minister is really making mischief when he suggests opponents of culls are putting animals before humans. There could be nothing further from the truth because culls are not effective and scientists are firm in that view.”
Last week, HSI submitted a nomination for Australia’s lethal shark control nets and drum lines to be listed as a Key Threatening Process under national environment laws due to their damage to endangered marine life. HSI has already successfully nominated “shark nets” as a Key Threatening Process under NSW law and was responsible for gaining state and national legal protection for the great white shark.
HSI is calling for an increase in non-lethal strategies, including subsidising personal shark deterrent devices, as a way to more effectively protect ocean users without causing the ecological damage of culling programs such as nets and drum lines.