Humane Society International (HSI) welcomes the agreement to implement an end to the deliberate culling of sharks in the Great Barrier Reef which has been reached between the Commonwealth and Queensland governments. It paves the way for the long overdue introduction of modern, more effective shark risk management into a region of such beauty and importance to Australia and the world.
The newly announced program will adhere to the decision handed down by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) last April, after Humane Society International won a court case to end lethal shark culling in the Great Barrier Reef. In that decision, the AAT found that culling sharks is detrimental to the ecological viability of the Reef ecosystem and has no impact on the risk of shark-bite to humans.
Lawrence Chlebeck, Marine Biologist at Humane Society International welcomed the announcement saying, "We are pleased that after 9 months the orders of the AAT will finally be implemented. This is the way forward for more effective shark-bite mitigation in the Great Barrier Reef and we will be pleased to see an end to 60 years of deliberately and needlessly killing sharks in this precious ecosystem.”
"HSI will be closely monitoring the progress of the new plan to ensure the transition from a lethal to non-lethal program occurs within an appropriate time frame,” continued Mr Chlebeck.
The $5 million Reef Strategy will cover SMART drumline trials, rebates to councils to install swimmer safety netting, new drone surveillance and swimmer education.
"New technologies and education are the best strategies to reduce the risk of shark bite,” said Mr Chlebeck.
HSI is encouraged by the cooperation shown between the Commonwealth and Queensland governments. We thank Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley for enforcing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act.
"It is our hope that Commonwealth, state and local governments will continue to show leadership and bring their communities into a new phase of modern, more effective shark bite mitigation and coexistence with the ocean environment,” concluded Mr Chlebeck.
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