Shark control equipment will be returned to Far North Queensland waters within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park from today (Monday) to boost swimmer safety.
Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said drumlines were being re-installed at five local beaches after negotiations with the Federal Government and workplace health and safety discussions with shark contractors.
“This decision is a huge win for local swimmers, tourists, our tourism industry and the wellbeing of the workers who inspect the drumlines,” Mr Crawford said.
25 drumlines will be returned to the water in northern Cairns including:
- Ellis Beach
- Buchan Point
- Palm Cove
- Trinity Beach
“Like many Far North Queenslanders, I was stunned by the implications of the AAT and Federal Court decision,” Mr Crawford said.
“The return of the 25 drumlines off the northern beaches and within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is a victory for common-sense and safety.”
120 drumlines will be reinstated across 27 NQ, FNQ and Central Queensland beaches bringing total drumlines to 203 – the same number in place prior to the Federal Court decision.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said restoring the program was made possible after the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) issued an amended permit that took into account workplace health and safety issues.
“These are the exact same drumlines that were removed after an AAT and Federal Court decision imposed a permit that could not be complied with, forcing their removal,” Mr Furner said.
“Our preference has always been to continue the proven Shark Control Program in the Reef, but this is a federal park with federal laws and Queensland must comply with the permit.
“We wanted to put our drumlines back in and that is exactly what we are doing, with extra training and new procedures ensuring our contractors can safely comply with the new requirements.
“Contractors will check drumlines regularly and tag, relocate and release tiger, bull and white sharks alive where possible and if it is safe for them to do so.
“Other shark species will be released at the site of their capture.
“If it is unsafe for the contractor, or if there are any animal welfare concerns, sharks will be euthanised.”
Mr Furner said relocating and releasing sharks would reduce the immediate risk to swimmers at that location but would not remove the risk entirely.
“That’s why we continue to encourage everyone to be SharkSmart and stay aware of what is happening around you every time you are in the water,” he said.
“Our approach will help ensure swimmer safety in the short term while moving in the longer term to non-lethal approaches, based on the best available science and trials.”
People are reminded to 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.