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23rd August - Humane Society International launches legal action against shark culling in Great Barrier Reef      



23rd August 2017

Australian charity, Humane Society International, has initiated legal action against a 10 year approval for 173 lethal drumlines within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Humane Society International has applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal seeking review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's decision to approve the permit.

"Humane Society International does not support the deliberate and unnecessary killing of marine life anywhere, but for it to happen in the Great Barrier Reef is even more objectionable,” said Nicola Beynon, Humane Society International's Head of Campaigns.

Humane Society International will argue the decision is in conflict with the Authority's responsibility to protect the Reef as the lethal drumlines will impact and kill sharks, dolphins, turtles and rays. Humane Society International advocates the use of non-lethal methods to mitigate against the small risk of shark attack.

"As apex predators, sharks play a vital role in maintaining the health of the Great Barrier Reef. The lethal drumlines are catching and killing protected and harmless species that are important to the reef's overall health. The Great Barrier Reef is already under severe stress from climate change and the last thing it needs is a further assault on its ecology from its own management authority,” continued Ms Beynon.

The 10-year, lethal control program, targets 26 shark species in the World Heritage Area Marine Park, including threatened and protected species that call the Great Barrier Reef home.

"Hammerheads are harmless and are a target species in the program despite currently being assessed for a Federal endangered listing. Reef sharks and tiger sharks are important for maintaining the Reef's ecosystem and are being captured in huge numbers on drumlines every year,” continued Ms Beynon.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most complex natural ecosystems on earth, and one of the most significant for biodiversity conservation. Australia has a legal responsibility to ensure its protection.

"Science shows that lethal shark control does not make our beaches safer, and only imperils marine life that is supposed to be protected, which is why we're fighting this approval and calling for non-lethal alternatives for bather protection,” concluded Ms Beynon.

Humane Society International is being represented by the Environmental Defenders Office NSW in this important case.


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