Shocking footage released today by wildlife conservation groups shows QLD Shark Control Program contractors brutally stabbing a tiger shark off Kings Beach on the Sunshine Coast.

The footage shows the tiger shark stabbed repeatedly with a knife by contractors employed by the QLD Government to cull or release marine life from the state’s nets and drumlines, depending on the location and species.

An onlooker piloting a drone from the shore captured the footage and provided it to Humane Society International (HSI) Australia, the Envoy Foundation, Sea Shepherd Australia, and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS). This collective of wildlife conservation groups say the footage shows the horrors of Queensland’s Shark Control Program and are calling for it to end.

Lawrence Chlebeck, Marine Biologist at HSI Australia said: “Not only is there an incomprehensible act of cruelty here, but with the shark and blood churning in the water off a popular swimming beach, there are also major public safety concerns. The fact this killing is in accordance with the QLD Shark Control Program protocol lays bare the cruelty of the program.”

Andre Borell, Founder of the Envoy Foundation said: “The barbarity of this program is unconscionable. This shark is incompetently stabbed in the head multiple times, failing to kill the shark. As the shark writhes in pain, the contractor gives up on this method, and instead proceeds to gut the shark whilst still alive. It is cruelty of an unimaginable magnitude.”

Jonathan Clark, Shark Defence Campaigner at Sea Shepherd Australia said: “This confronting footage demonstrates so much that is wrong with Queensland’s Shark Control Program. Catching sharks metres from swimmers, attracting more and larger predators is counter to safety. Chumming water metres from swimmers is definitely unsafe. Would you want your children swimming nearby shark fishermen?”

Leo Guida, Senior Shark Campaigner at AMCS said: “The Queensland Government has evidence-based beach safety solutions that benefit humans and wildlife alike – a state-sanctioned culling program should have ended long ago.”

Tiger sharks are the most culled species in the QLD Shark Control Program, with 245 caught and 97 killed in 2023. Those sharks released were tagged and relocated a kilometre offshore.

The QLD Shark Control Program mandates the destruction of 7 target species of shark when caught in nets or on drumlines outside the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef. Contractors are employed by the QLD Government to carry out monitoring of the shark nets and drumlines.

HSI Australia took the QLD Government to court in 2019 calling for an end to lethal shark culling in the Great Barrier Reef, prompted by concerns for the tiger shark population.

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