As part of its Shark Control program, Australia’s government of Queensland is set to implement legislation to criminalise close proximity to shark control equipment, to prevent any photography of lethal drumlines and shark nets.
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.
…explained NGOs Humane Society International and the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
The news comes after a photo release by the NGOs of a baby humpback whale caught in a shark net on the Gold Coast on 5 October. A rescue team by the environmentalists later freed the mammal.
The NGOs have previously expressed their opposition to this approach to shark control, “with the use of out-dated, cruel and ineffective measures“, and called for an end to the use of lethal drumlines in the Great Barrier Reef.
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?
According to Lawrence Chlebeck, Marine Campaigner for Humane Society International, 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,
The public has a right to see the true cost of the Queensland Government’s shark culling program…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,
…added Dr. Leonardo Guida, Senior Shark Campaigner at Australian Marine Conservation Society.
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, but the drumlines were removed, HSI informed. 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. According to QLD Shark Control Program statistics, 10,480 sharks have been caught on lethal drumlines since 2001.