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Lethal shark culling to end in Great Barrier Reef

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 2 Apr 2019

Healthy Oceans spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, today praised the order from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal which will see an end to Queensland's shameful lethal shark culling in the World Heritage-Listed Great Barrier Reef.


Senator Whish-Wilson said, "Lethal shark measures are indiscriminate killers and weapons of mass destruction to protected marine life.


"This is a massive win for our Great Barrier Reef and for healthy oceans."


The AAT's findings of "overwhelming scientific evidence" that killing sharks doesn't reduce the risk of unprovoked shark interactions, comes on the same day the Queensland Government's response to a 2017 Senate inquiry into shark mitigation was tabled in the Senate, claiming their Shark Control Program "continues to provide a safer swimming and surfing environment at popular beaches in Queensland."


Senator Whish-Wilson said, "This is absolute claptrap. The Queensland Government still has its head in the sand and refuses to acknowledge the scientific fact that its inhumane method of culling sharks does not make people safer."


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.


"It's uplifting to see the hard work of the Senate inquiry supported by the Tribunal's findings to phase out lethal shark mitigation methods. This new finding will further assist in breaking down many of the myths that surround sharks and safety, which is an absolutely critical part of getting change.


"It has been a long road to get to this point. I applaud the persistence of Humane Society International in pursuing an end to this inhumane, lethal shark culling."


Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said her state should never have been turned into a shark killing field.


"The judgement by the AAT confirms what the Greens have been saying all along about Queensland’s shark control program – it’s completely out of date at more than half a century old, isn’t in line with community expectations, doesn’t protect swimmers and harms marine life," she said. 


"The Great Barrier Reef has copped enough recently from climate change, coral bleaching and floodwaters but now finally at least one disruption to its precious ecosystem from the senseless killing of sharks will end.


"I call on the Queensland Government to act immediately, phase out all lethal shark mitigation methods in our state and invest in new approaches that help increase beach safety whilst protecting precious marine life."


The Greens' plan to invest in non-lethal shark mitigation measures can be found here

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