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Call for end to lethal shark nets after whale entangled

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 19 May 2020

Greens Healthy Oceans spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, urges the Federal Government to end exemptions granted to state governments that allow them to conduct trials of lethal shark control measures after a humpback whale was entangled in a shark net off the Queensland coast earlier today. 
Senator Whish-Wilson said, "Lethal shark measures are indiscriminate killers and weapons of mass destruction to protected marine life. This morning’s whale entanglement is yet more sobering evidence of this.”
Senator Whish-Wilson chaired the 2017 Senate inquiry into shark mitigation and deterrent measures that recommended NSW and Queensland phase out shark nets, immediately replace lethal drum lines with SMART drum lines and increase funding and support for the development and implementation of non-lethal mitigation measures.
“There is no evidence that lethal methods designed to kill sharks make ocean-goers safe. They are designed to provide a sense of security, real or false.”
Senator Whish-Wilson also attended the Shark Conservation Summit in February 2019 which sought to address challenges and opportunities for shark conservation in Australia and provide insight into developments in non-lethal shark mitigation measures such as personal deterrent devices. 
“The Greens have a plan to manage the risk of shark encounters and strike the right balance, in both public debate and policy, between the role of government and personal responsibility.
“The Greens would seek to end federal government exemptions for lethal shark mitigation measures and use the COAG Meeting of Environment Ministers to push for state governments to end lethal measures that are within their jurisdictions.
“The Greens would also put $50 million over ten years towards research and development of non-lethal shark mitigation measures including establishing a national sharks working group."

The Greens’ plan will:

  • End lethal shark control measures through a ‘phase out’ of shark nets and drum lines;
  • Provide funding for public good science to better understand sharks, and the development of non-lethal technologies;
  • Establish programs to better inform ocean-goers, including a national sharks working group.
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