Greenies declare ‘victory for sharks’
ENVIRONMENTALISTS have declared "victory for sharks" after a legal win against the Palaszczuk Government's use of drumlines within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Despite four attacks, one of them fatal, in the state in the past six months, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has ordered an end to killing any sharks caught on drumlines in the marine park unless it is necessary for animal welfare reasons.
Instead it has ordered the Government check the drumlines more regularly - within 24 hours of a catch - and tag and release any tiger sharks, bull sharks and white sharks.
It has also ordered the state to move towards using SMART drumlines, with real-time monitoring, like those currently used in NSW.
As Agriculture Minister Mark Furner grappled with the orders, LNP Fisheries spokesman Tony Perrett called on the State to immediately appeal.
"We shouldn't be moving away from tried and tested measures that have kept Queenslanders safe for more than 50 years," Mr Perrett said.
The future of the 173 drumlines currently used in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park - an area that has been the scene of multiple shark attacks including one that killed Melbourne doctor Daniel Christidis last year - remains in doubt.
The AAT's decision comes just a week after 25-year-old skipper Ryan Bowring was attacked at Line Reef.
"We stand by the record of the Shark Control Program (SCP) over almost 60 years," Mr Furner said last night.
"At this stage it is business as usual protecting our patrolled beaches with sound SCP Government policy."
Environmentalists from the Humane Society International, who led the legal challenge, yesterday welcomed the end to the culling of sharks in the marine park.
"Since the 1960s, sharks have been shot dead in the Great Barrier Reef," HSI marine campaigner Lawrence Chlebeck said.
"Today this has ended. This is a massive victory for sharks and marine wildlife."
The Government had argued that the HSI's proposal "would unjustifiably and inevitably expose human beings to an otherwise avoidable risk".
But the Tribunal found the State's lethal shark control program was "out of step with national and international developments".