Ex-Rainbow Beach Shark Control Program contractor, Gregory Bruce Pearce faced Gympie Magistrates Court today and did not enter a plea to the charges; contravened a condition of an authority, failure to keep records or other information as required, and four counts of possession of regulated fish. The matter has been adjourned for further mention on 21 December.
These charges relate to the August 2016 raids of his and other properties in Rainbow Beach where shark fins, jaws and other undocumented and illegal hauls were found.
Sea Shepherd’s Queensland Coordinator of their Apex Harmony Campaign, Jonathan Clark said, “Shark finning has likely in this case been used as a means to derive illegal income whilst contracted to a government department. Shark finning is a particularly cruel and unnecessary industry causing the destruction of shark species world-wide. It is akin to the rhino horn trade which is leading to the extinction of those species.”
Mr Clark added, “This case reinforces the many instances of shark finning that have been relayed to Queensland Apex Harmony crews by concerned members of the public. It is our belief that these practices are likely endemic and widespread within the Shark Control Program particularly in the more remote areas of the program.”
Mr Clark said, “Sea Shepherd Australia strongly urges the Queensland Department of Fisheries to undertake a thorough and transparent review into the current and historical practices of Queensland Shark Control Program contractors to prevent similar embarrassments occurring in the future.”
Mr Clark said, “We vehemently stand against practices that see the destruction of sharks which are key species that ensure the health of ocean environments.”
Mr Clark added, “Queensland’s Shark Control Program provides a mere false sense of safety whilst contributing to the destruction of sharks and many other marine species.”
Mr Clark went on to say, “This issue provides the Queensland Government with an opportunity to bring forth a policy, in time for the upcoming election; of providing an effective level of public safety, recognising the need to protect important and vulnerable marine species based on sound scientific evidence and advice.”
Mr Clark said, “Current methods employed by the Queensland Shark Control Program can and should be replaced by effective non-lethal methods and there are many currently available.”