An alarming new report showing a drastic decline in shark and ray populations is yet another reason shark nets and lethal drum lines must be removed from Australia’s beaches and oceans.
Greens spokesperson for Healthy Oceans, Senator Whish-Wilson, said action was needed urgently.
“Fixed-drum lines and mesh-nets are designed to entangle and kill sharks but are also indiscriminate killers and weapons of mass destruction to protected marine life.
“There is no evidence that nets and drum lines make ocean-goers safe. They are merely designed to provide a sense of security.
“Australia is the only country in the world to utilise these lethal and unjustified measures, making us an international embarrassment.
“Failure from the Federal Government to take action to reverse the decline in shark and ray populations in light of such a damning new report would be inexcusable.
“The Greens have been campaigning for over a decade to replace and transition away from lethal shark nets with measures that both help protect human life and marine life.
“The issue of shark mitigation needs to be a federally coordinated approach that advocates for evidence-based programs and consistency across states.
“As a start The Greens urge the Federal Government to end exemptions granted to state governments that allow them to conduct trials of lethal shark control measures.
Senator Whish-Wilson chaired the 2017 Senate inquiry into shark mitigation and deterrent measures that recommended NSW and Queensland phase out shark nets, immediately replace lethal drum lines with SMART drum lines and increase funding and support for the development and implementation of non-lethal mitigation measures.
“The Greens have a plan to manage the risk of shark encounters and strike the right balance, in both public debate and policy, between the role of government and personal responsibility.
“The Greens would seek to end federal government exemptions for lethal shark mitigation measures and use the COAG Meeting of Environment Ministers to push for state governments to end lethal measures that are within their jurisdictions.
“The Greens would also put $50 million over ten years towards research and development of non-lethal shark mitigation measures including establishing a national sharks working group.”