Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Use of Shark Drumlines in CQ, a Source of Contention

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Use of Shark Drumlines in CQ, a Source of Contention

Article excerpt

Byline: Leighton Smith

RECENT shark attacks at Swains Reef and the Whitsundays are grabbing the headlines but one group believes the government's shark control strategy is fundamentally flawed.

Over the past week, Coast Guard Yeppoon received several phone calls from members of the public reporting they had observed a boat with three people on board interfering with shark lines along local beaches on the Capricorn Coast.

Upon investigating, they determined that marine wildlife conservation organisation, Sea Shepherd Australia was in the local area with their boat, monitoring and gathering information on local shark buoys.

In a media release Sea Shepherd Australia contended that the Queensland Shark Control Program was providing a false sense of security, questioned the level of public support for the strategy of using drumlines or nets and explained why they were providing much needed oversight.

Sea Shepherd Australia representative Jonathan Clark (pictured) said the public had grown to realise the futility and cruelty inherent in a lethal program of shark bite mitigation.

"Placing baited hooks off our coast is not only pointless as far as making beaches safer, it is poor practice and lazy policy to do so," Mr Clark said.

"There is no science that backs the use of lethal methods of shark bite mitigation whilst there are effective non-lethal methods available right now.

"Sea Shepherd's Operation Apex Harmony is currently operating in the Yeppoon area as part of a mission to bring transparency to the Queensland Shark Control Program where currently there is little."

In 2017, the Capricorn Coast's 56 drumlines caught 40 sharks, ranging in size from a 60cm bull whaler through to a 3.67 tiger shark at Emu Park.

"We have found that drumlines are deployed where murky water, stingers and crocodiles keep people from the water and simple stinger nets or barriers could be used instead," Mr Clark said. …

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