Open Letter to the Minister to remove Queensland’s shark nets

Jul 26, 2019 by afdadmin
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Earlier this week another whale was entangled in Queensland’s deadly shark nets. This is the third whale in one month to struggle for their life.

A humpback whale calf trapped in a QLD shark net last year.
Photograph: Nicole McLachlan/HSI/AMCS

Between 2001 to 2017, Queensland’s shark nets and lethal drumlines have caught a staggering 13,189 marine animals, including turtles, dolphins, dugongs and rays.

A 2017 Senate Inquiry found it was impossible for the shark nets to guarantee swimmer safety. Yet they have cost thousands of innocent marine animals their lives. Action for Dolphins stand with many others in firmly believing these nets must be taken out.

Mark Furner is the minister in charge of Queensland’s Shark Control Program. We wrote him an open letter urging him to remove the nets and animal protection organisations, conservation organisations, local stakeholders, and scientific experts signed on.

It’s time the Queensland Government listened. Check out our letter below – and help keep up the pressure by signing this petition.

To the Hon. Mark Furner,

Re: Queenland’s lethal shark control program

On behalf of the undersigned animal protection organisations, conservation organisations, local stakeholders and scientific experts, we are writing to express our concerns in relation to the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries lethal shark control program.

The 2017 Australian Senate Inquiry report reviewed evidence for and against the effectiveness of mesh nets and lethal drum lines and found that it is impossible for them to guarantee public safety.

High-levels of by-catch mean that Queensland’s current shark control program causes significant damage to the marine environment.

According to QLD Government’s catch statistics, between 2001 to 2017 the mesh nets and lethal drum lines caught 13,189 marine animals, a figure which includes animals from both endangered and critically endangered species. In this 16-year period alone, 706 turtles, 284 dolphins, 59 whales, 32 critically endangered grey nurse sharks and 16 dugongs have been caught.

According to a recent study published in Communications Biology some species of sharks have declined by up to 92% off Queensland’s coast causing them to be more vulnerable to exploitation.

While we welcome the government’s recent announcement to invest $1 million annually over the next four years into researching new technologies, we request that the additional $13.1 million not be directed to maintaining or increasing the current lethal shark control program.

Scientific research into more effective shark bite mitigation and trialling of these technologies has already been underway in Australia for a number of years. In line with the recommendations of the Australian Senate, we believe these funds would be better directed towards investment in non-lethal alternatives such as, drones, shark spotting, barriers and personal protection devices.

Yours sincerely,