The Queensland Fisheries Minister, Leanne Donaldson has revealed in a letter to Independent MP, Peter Wellington, that the Department has requested a permit for additional drum lines in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park for the potential future trialing of new technology such as smart drum lines.
The requested permit however, raises concerns, as there would be no need to permanently increase fishing effort within the Great Barrier Reef to trial smart drum lines and the Minister’s Office has advised that there are no current plans for the use of smart drum lines.
National Shark Campaign Coordinator for Sea Shepherd Australia, Natalie Banks stated that given this new information, the permit request currently under review by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) should be halted and a new public consultation period commenced, so that the public could provide their feedback on this revelation.
“It is quite shocking to learn that the Department has not mentioned the potential use of smart drum line technology in their documentation regarding the permit request,” Ms Banks said.
“It wasn’t even made clear to the public that there was going to be an increase in the number of drum lines permitted within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park; one had to be very close to the issue to understand this.”
Upon understanding the Fisheries Department’s request for increased drum lines, Sea Shepherd Australia made the information public and started a petition against this decision, which attracted over seven thousand signatures.
The conservation organisation is flabbergasted by the lack of transparency from the Fisheries Department and is accusing the Queensland Government of attempting to pull the wool over the public’s eyes.
“The Queensland Fisheries Department needs to work together with the public on the issue of beach safety and this starts with the sharing of information,” Ms Banks said.
“The public is putting trust in their government and yet is constantly being let down by officials when it comes to advising the public on what really is happening around sharks, shark mitigation and beach users.”
Sea Shepherd's operation Apex Harmony campaign is focused on the removal of false sense of security, indiscriminate killing devices like nets and drum lines with the replacement of non-lethal alternatives where there is a demand.
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