Sea Shepherd issues a vote of no confidence in Queensland Authorities when it comes to shark management and the protection of the Great Barrier Reef
After months of dealing with red tape and administrative hold ups within the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Sea Shepherd Australia is putting the Queensland Government on notice with a vote of no confidence in government authorities when it comes to shark management in the state.
For over seven months, Sea Shepherd has been following up on an investigation into the use of drum lines being used within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority without a permit and is continuously being told that the matter is under investigation.
Sea Shepherd Australia’s National Shark Campaign Coordinator, Natalie Banks is left wondering what exactly is taking so long for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to investigate the matter.
“Yet again, we are bearing witness to an authority that seems completely incompetent to take immediate and decisive action to rectify a situation whereby three drum lines have been used without a permit within a United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organisation World Heritage site, since 1992” Ms Banks said.
“The scenario is made worse when you realise that the Department of Fisheries’ application to actually use drum lines and shark nets within the Great Barrier Reef has been under assessment by GBRMPA since April 2009 – coming up to seven years. What the exact hold up is remains a mystery.”
This isn’t the only frustration with GBRMPA for Sea Shepherd. A petition forwarded to the authority in April this year signed by over 34,500 people calling for non-lethal options to be used within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to reduce shark encounters instead of drum lines and shark nets, has gone largely unanswered. But GBRMPA isn’t alone in demonstrating their ineptitude; the Department of Fisheries in Queensland have discrepancies relating to the number of drum lines and shark nets listed on their website at five locations - specifically Emu Park, Fishermans, Trinity, Yorkey’s Knob and Halloways beaches. Information available through the downloadable excel spreadsheet do not correlate to the PDFs advising of where the drum lines and shark nets are located at these areas and the public are left wondering exactly how many shark nets are drum lines are at these beaches.
Just recently, Sea Shepherd were also advised by Fisheries Minister, Bill Byrne that an “assessment conducted in 2014” saw 16 shark species “identified as non-dangerous” and therefore no longer a targeted species of the shark control program, but upon looking for further information regarding this assessment, nothing was available publicly.
Further correspondence regarding this matter with the Shark Control Program Manager, Jeff Krause however, in October this year, revealed that in fact the list was only “recently completed” and was part of an information pack associated with the use of drum lines and shark nets within the Great Barrier Reef.
The information pack stipulates that 16 non-target shark species have been added to the list of non-targeted sharks through the shark control program, but only 15 appear to be added.
“It is no secret that the health of the Great Barrier Reef is deteriorating, which can be partially attributed to the loss of shark and marine species, particularly tens of thousands of reef sharks, due to the shark control measures within the marine park,” Ms Banks said.
“The removal of the drum lines and shark nets should be part of the Great Barrier Reef’s management because without sharks we have a depleted reefs and a dead ocean.”
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