Operation Apex Harmony

Protecting Sharks in Australia

Through investigation and documentation, Apex Harmony sheds much-needed light on the destructive nature of state-sanctioned shark control programs — bringing our message to the public and empowering Australians to help protect sharks and other marine life. 

Operation Apex Harmony
Defending Sharks

Using our small boat the Grey Nurse, our campaign actively monitors and reports on shark nets and drumlines in Queensland and New South Wales. 

By bringing transparency to the destructive nature of these programs that have killed thousands of sharks and rays, hundreds of turtles as well as dolphins and whales, we are bringing our message to the public in local areas affected by government decisions and the broader community in each state.

About the Campaign

Our Australian campaign began in 2014 when the Western Australian Government began its controversial shark culling program.

 

By bringing transparency to effects of this program, the campaign had a win in September 2014 when the Environmental Protection Authority recommended that the program cease due to its unknown environmental impacts.

 

Since then, the 2017 Australian Senate Inquiry “Shark mitigation and deterrent measures” has made strong recommendations for a move towards non-lethal technologies and has been largely ignored by governments.And in 2018, the Queensland Administrative Appeals Tribunal found against the Queensland Government who appealed (and lost). However, moves by the Queensland Government have seen the drumlines returned to Great Barrier Reef beaches.

Operation Apex Harmony's work continues in bringing awareness to the destructive nature of the Shark Control Programs in both New South Wales and Queensland. 

 

Here are some of the current issues that we're focussed on: 

East Coast Shark Control Programs

Since 1962, the Queensland Government has been killing sharks and other marine life under the Queensland Shark Control Program (QSCP) using shark nets and drumlines. Nineteen species of sharks are targeted and killed by the QSCP, no matter their size. Drumlines are also present within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park where three species are targeted for tag and release.

 

In New South Wales, shark nets have been used since 1937, and are deployed for eight months of the year at 51 beaches across the state. These shark nets are indiscriminate and ineffective, and come at a massive cost to our marine life. Since the program's inception, over 20,000 animals have been caught in New South Wales' nets, with many losing their lives.

 

The Impact of Shark Nets on Migrating Whales

Every winter, the East Coast of Australia celebrates the annual migration of humpback whales travelling past. Threatening these whales are shark nets that entangle - and sometimes even kill these iconic animals. 

 

The Queensland shark netting program operates year-round. In 2019 alone, five humpback whales were entangled in shark nets on the state’s shoreline in places such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Rainbow Beach – all popular tourist destinations.

 

Following South Africa’s lead, New South Wales has recognised the whale killing capacity of shark nets, and as a result, the state removes them during four months of the migration season.

Around the world, shark mitigation strategies that do not harm delicate marine ecosystems are being explored and developed. Sea Shepherd is advocating for a transition to non-lethal technologies guided by science to both increase safety and protect ocean life. Learn more 

 

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