The LNP’s plan to adopt a catch-and-release policy on shark control would release dozens of large, dangerous sharks close to Cairns’ most popular swimming beaches.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said new analysis of Shark Control Program data shows that 190 large, dangerous sharks had been caught on local drumlines over the last five years.
“The LNP has backed the Humane Society International’s stance that shark control in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park should be conducted with a catch-and-release program,” Mr Furner said.
“That program would mean capturing large sharks, towing them offshore and then releasing them live.
“We are talking about tiger sharks, bull whalers and common blacktips, all of which could cause serious damage in a shark attack.”
The figures showed there were 23 dangerous sharks caught off Buchans Point Beach, 13 at Cliftons Beach, 60 at Ellis Beach, 33 at Holloways Beach, 26 at Palm Cove, 28 at Trinity Beach and 7 at Yorkeys Knob.
Last week the Palaszczuk Government installed 17 extra drumlines between Townsville, Mackay, Capricorn Coast and Gladstone to protect beaches just outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The deployment of additional drumlines outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park followed last week’s Federal Court decision which meant that all sharks caught within the marine park must now be tagged and released alive within 24 hours.
The State Government removed more than 160 drumlines from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park because that program could not be carried out without serious risk to staff and contractors.
But the LNP embraced the new requirements, urging the rollout of a catch-and-release program as soon as possible.
Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said the LNP had failed to stand up for local swimmers and the tourism industry.
“It beggars belief that the LNP would support this sort of dangerous approach instead of fighting for the shark control program that has enjoyed bipartisan support for more than 50 years,” Mr Crawford said.
“It’s not too late for the LNP to see sense and back our Shark Control Program.
“We have to keep our swimmers safe and we need to protect our $27billion tourism industry.”
Be Safe. Be SharkSmart
- Don’t swim at dawn or dusk
- Always swim in clear water (not in murky water, anchorages, estuary mouths or canals)
- Don’t throw food scraps or fish waste overboard
- Don’t swim where fish are being cleaned
- Swim, surf, snorkel or dive with a buddy
- Follow local signage and swim between the flags at patrolled beaches.
Minister Furner said that the government was committed to trialling alternatives but didn’t believe that SMART drumlines, which have been trialled in other states, were appropriate in the Great Barrier Reef.
“In these trials, sharks can be relocated offshore safely but in much of Queensland’s north, releasing sharks offshore is potentially dangerous because many of these areas are important tourism destinations used by swimmers or other water users,” Mr Furner said.
“State LNP members need to get on the phone to their Federal colleagues and urge them to pass urgent legislation to allow our shark control program back in to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.”