Call for change in decades-old shark laws
With over 500 sharks caught in Queensland’s nets and drumlines in a 12-month period, conservationists want change.
Queensland’s shark culling polices have been in place for decades, and Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) senior marine campaigner Tooni Mahto says the “inhumane and archaic” regime should be abolished.
“Under the Queensland control program there are 26 species of shark which are listed as being a threat to humans. That's totally nonsensical,” she said.
“What it means is that if any of those sharks are caught, they will be euthanised.
“We believe that means they are shot. That seems like a very archaic way of dealing with sharks.”
New South Wales is the most recent jurisdiction to look for better ways to manage sharks, trialling “smart” drum lines that alert authorities when an animal is caught.
Sharks are usually tagged with satellite trackers and released.
Swimmers can use an app to see where the sharks are before the enter the water.
But the AMCS says the system is flawed because sharks are still being killed.
“Some species can't cope with being released after being caught. For example hammerhead sharks, when caught on hooks get very, very stressed,” Ms Mahto said.
Queensland Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner says there are no immediate plans to change the shark control program would continue, which has been in place since 1962.
“While we continue to monitor emerging technology, the safety of swimmers is paramount, and until alternatives are found that work better in Queensland waters, the program will continue,” Mr Furner said.
“In the last 55 years only one person has lost their life to a shark at a protected Queensland beach. That is one too many, but sadly no measures are foolproof.
“The safety of Queenslanders is our top priority and any moves to remove the protections on our beaches will place lives at risk.”