After several sightings of protected Humpback whales migrating along the east coast over the past two weeks, NSW Department of Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair has announced the second NSW North Coast net trial will come to an end.
NSW is also removing shark nets from their other 51 sites for the whale migration season. Whilst NSW is removing gear to prevent whale entanglements, Queensland continues at the peril of these majestic marine mammals.
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Sea Shepherd welcomes the NSW Government announcement that ended the northern NSW shark net trial which was putting these ocean giants at too great a risk.
Whale tourism is an important industry in Queensland with some of the finest whale watching tours available in centres from the Gold Coast to Hervey Bay and to Cairns and Port Douglas. Locals and tourists want to see these animals swimming freely without the risk of entanglement.
Sea Shepherd's Operation Apex Harmony team saw possibly 11 entanglements in Queensland Shark Control Program gear last year with a whale calf killed at Kurrawa in a shark net.
Fellow campaigner and marine scientist, CEO of Humpbacks and Highrises, Dr Olaf Meynecke said: “Our organisation has long campaigned for the replacement of the shark nets in the Gold Coast as they are a major risk to protected marine life including whales who use the bay as a resting and calving ground each year.
"NSW has removed shark nets whilst only a few kilometres across the border in the Gold Coast bay whale entanglements will continue. More than 1/3 of recorded Humpback whale incidents along the Queensland coastline are in fact due to the Queensland Shark Control Program and we urgently need to change the current practice in light of an increasing whale population.
"Alternative methods are available that do not put the life of humans or whales in danger.”
Sea Shepherd Australia's Managing Director Mr Hansen also stated: “Sea Shepherd is concerned for human safety. It is not a question of protecting human safety at cost to the marine environment. You can have both human safety and marine animal protection with the many non-lethal alternatives to nets and drum lines available right now.”