Humane Society International (HSI) applauds the leadership shown today by Queensland LNP Leader Deb Frecklington for a plan to adhere to court orders and implement a revised Shark Control Program in the Great Barrier Reef to better protect swimmers and the environment.
The announcement comes after Queensland's Labor Government lost a Federal Court appeal last week, ordering an end to the shooting of sharks caught on drumlines in the GBR. Instead of adhering to the orders, which were a compromise, the Queensland Labor Government pulled all of the drumlines out of the Reef in a ploy to apply pressure on the Federal Government to weaken the Great Barrier Reef legislation and allow them to continue shooting sharks.
The Queensland LNP has pledged $15 million to trial SMART drumlines and fund the daily checking of drumlines and have challenged the Labor government to match it.
If drumlines are checked daily, regularly caught, harmless and endangered species are more likely to be released alive and will not have to suffer cruel and prolonged deaths. Whereas target shark species can be tagged and released off shore and their movements tracked.
"The response from the Queensland Liberals respects the legal process and we at HSI commend that,” said Lawrence Chlebeck of Humane Society International.
"They have listened to the science and evidence-based decision from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal that shark culling does not improve swimmer safety, and has a detrimental impact on the Reef,” Mr Chlebeck continued.
The announcement relayed that removal of the drumlines was "Labor's decision” and not mandated by the court orders. The court only ordered for drumlines to be managed more humanely while research takes place into non-lethal measures. Modern, non-lethal strategies such as drone surveillance and personal shark deterrents are more effective at protecting ocean-users.
Mr Chlebeck continued, "This isn't sharks versus people. The Queensland Labor Government knows that. Their own expert witness admitted on the stand that if they stopped killing sharks the risk of an unprovoked shark bite would not increase.
For too long sharks have been used to scaremonger and play politics. Listening to science-based facts and respecting the authority of this country's judicial system is good leadership from the LNP and we welcome it.”
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