Horror Start to Whale Migration: Six Whales Entangled in Queensland Shark Nets
Tuesday, 05 Jul, 2022
Recently, a sub-adult humpback whale became the sixth whale ensnared in one of Queensland's deadly shark nets in 2022 so far. The entanglement came just three days after two humpback whales were caught in deadly Queensland shark nets at two locations along the state’s coastline in the same day.
One of the greatest joys during Queensland winter is that of the annual whale migration. From May to November, the seas off the Queensland coast are rife with new life. Humpback and Minke whales make their way up Australia’s east coast to give birth, before heading back to Antarctica to feed.
However, the 10,000-kilometre journey past our golden shores are not easy to navigate. In less than a month, six whales have been caught in five entanglement events in Queensland shark nets.
Fortunately, rescue teams were mobilised and all of the whales were successfully released, but more entanglements are expected as the whale migration season continues.
"This year's whale migration season has only just begun and already more whales have become entangled in these useless shark nets than in the entirety of 2021. These whales are yet to make the return trip to Antarctica where they will have to run this gauntlet again. It's time for these cruel and deadly nets to come out now.”- Sea Shepherd Shark Defence Campaigner, Jonathan Clark
Shark nets are gillnets deployed up to 500m out from a beach. They do not provide an enclosure for swimmers, which is a common misconception.
In November 2017, a Senate Committee Report found that lethal shark control measures such as shark nets do not guarantee public safety. In 2019, a Queensland court found that “The lethal component of the [Shark Control Program] does not reduce the risk of unprovoked shark interactions. The scientific evidence before us is overwhelming in this regard.”
“Whales are one of the most iconic marine species on this planet, and the feats they make as they circumnavigate the world are beyond astounding. By keeping shark nets in their path against scientific advice, each year we purposely endanger them with a slow and gruelling death.”- Sea Shepherd Australia’s Threatened and Endangered Species Campaigner, Lauren Sandeman
We're calling on the Queensland Fisheries Minister for the immediate removal of shark nets for the whale migration season in Queensland so mother and baby whales can migrate safely. The nets can be immediately replaced with more effective technology like drone surveillance and shark spotting programs.