Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
PM called on to stop Qld shark kill ban

Queensland’s tourism minister says the prime minister could have “blood on his hands” if he doesn’t act to allow shark culling on the Great Barrier Reef.

September 18, 2019

Queensland’s tourism minister says Prime Minister Scott Morrison could have “blood on his hands” if he doesn’t intervene on a ban preventing shark culling on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Queensland government on Wednesday lost an appeal in the Federal Court for the right to use drum lines to catch and kill sharks on the reef in a bid to protect swimmers.

The appeal came after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in April upheld a Humane Society challenge to the state government program in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park area.

Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner wants the federal government to change federal legislation to allow the program to continue in park.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which manages the area, was created by federal legislation in 1975.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the court decision left her deeply concerned for the safety of visitors swimming in the World Heritage area.

“I’m calling on the prime minister to intervene,” she told reporters

“I’m sure the prime minister does not want to have blood on his hands through this decision in relation to the federal act.”

However, Humane Society campaigner Lawrence Chlebeck says the court decision was a victory for sharks.

“No longer will sharks senselessly die for a misguided sense of security,” he said.

In its decision, the tribunal said the scientific evidence about “the lethal component” of the shark control program “overwhelmingly” showed it does not reduce the risk of an unprovoked shark attack.

The program now has to be carried out in a way that avoids killing sharks to the “greatest extent possible”.

The park will only be permitted to authorise the euthanasia of sharks caught on drum lines on animal welfare grounds.

All tiger, bull and white sharks caught on drum lines are now to be tagged before being released.

Additionally, sharks caught on drum lines are to be attended to as soon as possible – preferably within 24 hours of capture – and tagged sharks are to be relocated offshore.

Mr Chlebeck wants the government to stop shark culls along the entire Queensland coastline.

There have been no changes to the shark control program in other Queensland locations, including the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

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