Sea Shepherd has slammed the Queensland Department of Fisheries’ proposal to increase drum lines in the Great Barrier Reef in a submission to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, stating that the proposal would add further pressures to the already fragile reef.
The submission, written by National Shark Campaign Coordinator for Sea Shepherd, Natalie Banks specifies the lack of justification for the proposed increased of approximately 65 drum lines into the World Heritage site; stipulating that there has not been an unwanted shark encounter within the famous tourist site, for almost 30 years.
“It is absolutely ludicrous and completely backward thinking to have Queensland looking to increase the use of 1960’s lethal measures to reduce shark encounters, where globally the rest of the world is turning to modernised, non-lethal techniques,” Natalie said.
“We simply can not afford to continue to mess with one of Australia’s most famous natural marine heritage sites and it’s marine life.”
Sea Shepherd has been lobbying against the use of drum lines and shark nets in Queensland and New South Wales, due to the indiscriminate way they catch and kill innocent marine life. Earlier this year, the organisation held an online petition against the use of drum lines and shark nets within the Great Barrier Reef, which attracted over 34,500 signatures.
Freedom of Information documents earlier this year revealed that the 365 drum lines and 30 shark nets in Queensland has snared over 84,800 marine animals in the state, including over 5,000 turtles, 1,014 dolphins, nearly 700 dugongs and 120 whales – all of which are federally protected marine species.
Pressure from conservation groups, scientists and the community has seen New South Wales Premier, Mike Baird introduce a $16 million non-lethal trial of various options within the northern area of the state. However the Queensland Government is turning a blind eye, pressing on with a program that was found not to work in Hawaii and which would have caused such unknown environmental impacts, that the Western Australian Government was forced to abandon its drum lining program last year.
“Too often fears and unfounded opinions are being heard over that of scientific facts, real long-term effective solutions and the important ecological role that sharks play in our oceans,” Natalie said.
“In the case of the Great Barrier Reef specifically, 93% of drum lines are in place where there has never been an unwanted shark encounter. It’s time we moved away from so-called solutions which merely provide a false sense of security and embrace scientifically founded non-lethal techniques instead ”
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