Queensland shark control debate - fact and fiction

By : Humane Society International September 19, 2019

In the aftermath of losing their appeal in Federal Court to continue culling sharks in the Great Barrier Marine Park, the Queensland Government appears to have lost sight of the original judgement from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

"It is utterly bizarre that the Queensland Government seems hell-bent on killing sharks,” said Lawrence Chlebeck, Humane Society International Marine Campaigner.

"The science is crystal clear—killing sharks does not improve swimmer safety." 

"The ruling from the AAT provides a very considered pathway to amend the Shark Control Program which will improve swimmer safety and protect the precious Great Barrier Reef marine ecosystem in which sharks play such an important role.” 

"It is simply not true that Queensland must abandon shark control altogether—just ineffective lethal shark control.”

Deliberately killing sharks in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park does little more than provide the perception of safety in the face of the very remote risk of an interaction with a shark.

Queensland beaches are renowned the world over and tourists flock here to experience the extraordinary marine life of the Great Barrier Reef. Most would be horrified to know that sharks are actively killed within what should be the sanctuary of a Marine Park.

"The court ruling presents a real opportunity for Queensland to step up and innovate—it is time for the Queensland Government to invest in more effective non-lethal shark control and abandon efforts to continue killing sharks,” said Mr Chlebeck.

Non-lethal shark control methods that Queensland can deploy immediately includes drones, education and personal shark deterrent subsidies—which are currently being used to great effect in Western Australia.

The AAT ruling also allowed for a transition from lethal drumlines to SMART drumlines, which are being used in New South Wales and Western Australia.

See full Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision here

See full Federal Court decision here

 

Image credit: istock - Yoshinori

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HSI concentrates on the preservation of endangered animals and ecosystems and works to ensure quality of life for all animals, both domestic and wild. HSI is the largest animal protection not-for-profit organisation in the world and has been established in Australia since 1994