Proposed QLD shark gag law will make it illegal to document horrors of culling program

Humane Society International and the Australian Marine Conservation Society were on the scene today as a baby humpback whale was caught in a shark net on the Gold Coast. Our staff alerted the rescue and response team to the trapped whale, and it has now been freed.

However, this latest horror of the Queensland Shark Control program comes as the Queensland Government tries to implement legislation to criminalise close proximity to shark control equipment, making photography of lethal drumlines and shark nets almost impossible.

Image: HSI/AMCS/N McLachlan

Images and video for media can be downloaded here

As part of a suite of amendments to the QLD Fisheries Act, the Government is proposing implementing exclusion zones of 20 metres around shark control equipment, making it almost impossible to independently capture photography and videos of sharks and other marine animals caught on lethal drumlines and in shark nets throughout the state.

“Seeing these images of a baby humpback whale entangled in a shark net should be enough to get the Queensland Government to remove the nets. How many more animals must suffer in these nets before the Government moves to more effective, non-lethal measures?

“The Queensland Government’s plan to put exclusion zones around shark control equipment is simply a measure to keep the slaughter of sharks and marine wildlife hidden from public view. This is not about public safety, rather it’s a blatant tactic to reduce public scrutiny by a government under increased public pressure to end its archaic culling program. The Queensland Government has 368 lethal drumlines and 30 shark nets throughout the state, and is now justifying these no-go zones by saying this equipment is a hazard to the public. If that’s the case, they should remove these culling devices as a matter of urgency and instead implement non-lethal technologies to protect ocean users,” said Lawrence Chlebeck, Marine Campaigner for Humane Society International.

Image HSI/AMCS/N McLachlan

“The public has a right to see the true cost of the Queensland Government’s shark culling program. Our footage of a baby humpback whale trapped in the nets would have been illegal to collect if the proposed exclusion zone around shark control equipment was in effect. Recent media polls have found that the Queensland shark control program is deeply unpopular with the public, but the Government continues to catch and kill sharks throughout the state. We’re asking the Government to listen to the community and invest in non-lethal alternatives, a win-win for endangered marine wildlife and for bather protection,” said Dr. Leonardo Guida, Senior Shark Campaigner at Australian Marine Conservation Society.

HSI and AMCS also captured images of an endangered baby scalloped hammerhead shark tangled and drowned in a shark net off the Gold Coast on 4th October, 2018.

In August, HSI and AMCS released footage of two scalloped hammerhead sharks caught on lethal drumlines at Magnetic Island in the Great Barrier Reef.

In response to two shark bites at Whitsunday Island in the Great Barrier Reef last month, the Queensland Government set three lethal drumlines and killed six sharks in the area. These drumlines were removed following massive backlash locally and nationwide. Under its shark control program, at least 64 sharks have been shot dead by the Queensland Government since July last year.

Humane Society International has an ongoing legal challenge against the Queensland Government’s shark culling program in the Great Barrier Reef. The case will be heard at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Brisbane from January 30, 2019.

Image HSI/AMCS/N McLachlan


  1. If anything we should ensure protection of sharks (indeed all marine life) in their home, the ocean. We humans endanger them already with the plastic bags and rubbish we dump in their ‘home’.
    The audacity of the human race is unbelievable- now we want to protect disrespecting humans who want the ocean to themselves – yet again at the expense of marine life.
    I suppose once humans have destroyed the ocean and marine life they’ll move on to something else to destroy and desecrate.

  2. Why would you catch sharks in nets ?? Stop this stupid practice as other animals are being affected . People have the right to see what you are doing and they should see what is being caught in the nets !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *