The Queensland Government has urged Sunshine coast LNP MPs to stand up for Queensland swimmers and tourists by getting behind the state’s Shark Control Program.
The LNP quickly backed the Human Society International’s stance to support a catch-and-release shark program in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after a court decision forced Queensland’s long-standing catch-and-remove program to be removed.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said it was time for the LNP to abandon its support for a catch-and-release program in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after a new report showed it would not be effective.
“If Jarrod Bleijie and his LNP colleagues were so quick to abandon the catch-and-remove program in the Marine Park, how long can we trust them to support it in the rest of Queensland,” Mr Furner said.
“We know Green groups are lining up to tackle our long-standing Shark Control Program in the rest of the state – will the LNP side with them again?
“The LNP can’t have it both ways – they either support catch-and-removal of dangerous sharks or they support letting them back in to the water.
“Jarrod Bleijie has a responsibility to stand up for Sunshine Coast swimmers and the tourism industry that brings so much to the region’s economy.”
Mr Furner said Sunshine Coast MPs should add their weight to calls for Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley to get legislation allowing the state’s Shark Control Program back in to Reef waters on the agenda for the next sitting of Federal Parliament.
He said Queensland communities with beaches inside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park should not be disadvantaged compared to those in Southern Queensland, especially when hundreds of large, dangerous sharks had been caught on the region’s drumlines over the last five years
“Your postcode shouldn’t determine whether you are given shark control equipment that has historical evidence or unproven technology that releases sharks off our swimming beaches,” he said.
“All Queenslanders should have access to the Shark Control Equipment that has been in place since 1962, and for the Commonwealth and LNP to abandon Central Queensland to Far North Queensland to a catch-and-release of sharks is an absolute disgrace.”
The Queensland Government removed its drumlines from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after the Federal Court decisions imposed conditions on the Shark Control Program that would have put staff and contractors at serious risk.
The report released on Thursday found “Overall, the authors of this report are of the view that SMART drumlines are not a practical solution throughout the state”.
In terms of SMART drumlines in the Great Barrier Reef, page 46 of the report states: “the Mackay, Townsville, Capricorn Coast and Cairns region are problematic in terms of finding acceptable locations to relocate captured sharks to…. In Townsville and Cairns, it would also mean potentially locating sharks closer to islands and reefs that are utilised by water users such as divers, snorkelers or spearfishers and may pose a risk.”
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the LNP is too busy cosying up to the Humane Society International instead of fighting for the shark control program that has enjoyed bipartisan support for 57 years.
“The LNP needs to wake up, see the light and support our Shark Control Program,” Mr Furner said.
“It is not acceptable that they have not acted, after knowing since April that there was a risk to swimmers.
“The expert advice is clear, the LNP catch and release program of sharks in the Great Barrier Reef will not work, and I have again written to the Commonwealth Environment Minister alerting her to this expert advice.”
The Queensland Government has committed $1m to examining new and emerging technologies for swimmer safety, however Mr Furner said inferior technology will not replace a program that has operated successfully since 1962.
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 for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
The Honourable Mark Furner