SEA SHEPHERD AUSTRALIA values human safety and believes very strongly that there are effective non-lethal shark bite mitigation methods available that can make beaches safer places to enjoy.
Our thoughts are most certainly with the two victims of shark bite accidents that occurred this week at Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays.
This is a highly unusual circumstance that is terribly traumatic for all involved including the victims, their families, rescuers and the local communities.
Representing Sea Shepherd Australia, Jonathan Clark, questioned the government response: “Baited drum lines targeting sharks in the area will do nothing to prevent further accidents. They may even make the situation worse.”
Mr Clark added: “We have been told that this is an area where locals do not swim, that fishers take sharks there, and that it’s a safe harbour for boats but not for swimming. One of the best mitigation methods is good public information. Were locals and visitors adequately warned following the first bite incident?”
Mr Clark said: “The Queensland Fisheries Minister, The Hon. Mark Furner voices concern for tourism operators and yet implements antiquated systems that will ultimately inflict great harm on those same businesses.”
Mr Clark pointed out: “If there is something the government should be doing, it is this: Ensure immediate implementation of effective public information protocols about the risks associated with swimming in the area, when bite incidents occur, when whale carcasses are found on the coastline and when whales are caught in shark nets and fishing gear, prevent the entanglement and killing of whales by removing nets, and implementing the range of effective non-lethal mitigation methods. And stop the nonsense about speaking of “effectiveness” only in terms of their ability to kill sharks. That bit is easy and it’s lazy policy.
"Making beaches actually safer is much harder and unrelated to their ability to kill sharks.”