On the 9th of June 2019, Queensland Fisheries Minister, the Hon Mark Furner MP, announced an additional investment of $17.1M over 4 years in the Queensland Shark Control Program (QSCP). This funding includes just $1M per year for research on new technologies.

Representing Sea Shepherd Australia, Shark Campaigner, Jonathan Clark said, “An increase of more than $4.25M per year with a mere $1M of that going to research on new technologies is poor. It does not even specify that these technologies should be non-lethal. The Queensland Government seems utterly disinterested in providing real beach safety with currently available technologies that are proven to be effective and have no impact on our precious marine ecosystems.”

“The QSCP’s expanded budget will not minimise the number of dolphins, whales, turtles, rays and sharks entangled and killed in shark nets, as well as on drumlines – marine animals in which a significant part of our economy depends. There are no plans to replace any shark nets or drumlines with non-lethal technologies.”

Ray caught in shark nets off Ballina, NSWA loggerhead turtle caught on a Rainbow Bay, QLD drumline. Photo: Rebecca Griffiths 

The QSCP’s budget increase does not provide transparency to this deadly program that merely creates a false sense of safety at our beaches. Instead, the Queensland Government is blatantly attempting to make opaque the marine harm and destruction caused by their shark nets and drumlines with a recently introduced 20m exclusion zone.

“The Queensland Government have forgone a perfect opportunity to quietly and respectfully withdraw from the lethal methodology of Queensland Shark Control Program,” said Mr Clark. “The recent findings of the Queensland Administrative Appeals Tribunal demonstrated clearly that scientific evidence does not support lethal shark bite mitigation measures.”

“While Sea Shepherd welcomes that in the new budget $600,000 will be spent on education, the rest of the spend is currently opaque. We just don’t know how the rest will be spent apart from increased contractor costs.”

“This extra funding for the QSCP barely moves Queensland Labor towards honouring their own policy platform of expanding marine conservation programs based on sound scientific evidence and advice, including an investigation and ongoing scientific review of non-lethal shark monitoring, control, and incident prevention measures.”

Sea Shepherd Australia is calling on the QSCP Scientific Working Group to urgently investigate appropriate non-lethal methods suitable for each of these areas where QSCP gear is currently deployed. Sea Shepherd supports a scientific, non-lethal approach to shark bite mitigation, such as an investment in drone technology that monitors beaches for sharks. 

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