Humpback calf caught on Stradbroke Island drumline

Yesterday saw the fifth whale entanglement in only three months of the 2020 whale migration season along Queensland’s east coast.

The humpback whale calf’s fin was impaled on a drumline’s hook, positioned off Main Beach, Stradbroke Island. The calf was freed after an intense five hour rescue operation by Queensland Fisheries.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) have repeatedly called for the removal of lethal drumlines and shark nets in favour of solutions such as drones, boosted lifeguard presence, and education programs to improve both the safety of ocean goers and wildlife alike.

Earlier this year, four humpbacks were entangled in Gold Coast shark nets in the space of just one month. AMCS publicly warned this was unlikely to be the last whale caught in shark control equipment and that they needed to be removed for the whale season at the very least. Non lethal solutions were put forward in March this year by the Government’s own Shark Control Working group.

Queensland Fisheries Minister Mark Furner is yet to announce a decision about the removal of shark control equipment, having said in June that, “We expect to make announcements on scientifically monitored trials soon”.

Dr Leonardo Guida, shark scientist and campaigner at AMCS said: “The solutions are ready and available. AMCS urges Minister Furner to announce a decision that supports a transition away from shark nets and lethal drumlines, and toward solutions that improve the safety of beach goers and wildlife alike.”

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