Sea Shepherd Australia contends that the Queensland Shark Control Program provides only a false sense of security and with recent events in the Whitsundays, it is clear that the Queensland public is not behind the use of drumlines or nets.
Representing Sea Shepherd Australia, Jonathan Clark said: “The public has grown to realise the futility and cruelty inherent in a lethal program of shark bite mitigation.”
Mr Clark alleged: “Placing baited hooks off our coast is not only pointless as far as making beaches safer, it is poor practice and lazy policy to do so. There is no science that backs the use of lethal methods of shark bite mitigation whilst there are effective non-lethal methods available right now.”
Mr Clark said: “Sea Shepherd’s Operation Apex Harmony is currently operating in the Yeppoon area as part of a mission to bring transparency to the Queensland Shark Control Program where currently there is little. Whilst the government releases catch data, most of it is not very current nor is it seen by many and certainly no images are released that tell the true story of what occurs. There is also no official observer program on QSCP contractor boats.”
Mr Clark described the work carried out by Sea Shepherd. “Our crews have recently worked in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Yeppoon. We have found that drumlines are deployed where murky water, stingers and crocodiles keep people from the water and simple stinger nets or barriers could be used instead. Our surveys find up to 100% of the drumlines have no bait on them.
"We have experienced refusal to attend vulnerable species caught on the lines and refusal to attend distressed and tortured sharks. Sometimes sharks are left on lines for more than 48 hours where they are likely to be an attractant for larger sharks."
Mr Clark added: “The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries made a seriously bad call in regard to deploying drumlines in Cid Harbour recently. Their removal is acknowledgement of failure in terms of mitigation, the effect on local ecology and even in public relations and tourism. This failure is indicative of the pointlessness of the whole lethal system. Sea Shepherd calls on the Queensland Government to immediately acknowledge their own election platform on the matter and implement non-lethal technologies.”