Government won't back down following shark backlash
THE Department of Agriculture and Fisheries say they stand by the current Shark Control Program amidst outrage over the handling of a three-metre long tiger shark caught in a drumline off Bargara, near Bundaberg, last week.
Jonathan Clark, the Queensland co-ordinator for the Apex Harmony Campaign being run by Sea Shepherd Global, had found the female shark while documenting all the nets and drumlines of the control program and said he could not legally interfere with the drumline but wanted to see non-lethal practises used to release the animal.
The State Government instead euthanised the shark and Mr Clark said it was "animal cruelty in action on our beaches".
Despite public outrage, a department spokesperson said the State Government would not "compromise human safety and continues to support the Shark Control Program with its combination of shark nets and drum lines at 85 of Queensland's most popular beaches."
"Drumlines are effective at catching species such as tiger sharks, which are more prevalent in north Queensland, whereas shark nets are a more effective measure for species such as the aggressive bull shark, which are more prevalent in south-east Queensland," the spokesperson said. "Non-dangerous sharks and other non-target species caught in shark control equipment are released alive where possible."
The spokesperson said using drumlines and bait that doesn't attract dolphins and turtles were some of the measures used by the Shark Control Program to reduce the capture of non-target species.
"Improvements in the types of nets, hooks and bait have improved the ability to target key species, while reducing non-target catch," they said.
"In 2017, the Queensland Government established a Scientific Working Group to provide scientific advice to improve the Shark Control Program's effectiveness and reduce impacts on by-catch.
"The Scientific Working Group is also exploring alternative shark control technologies including non-lethal methods.
"If the captured shark is alive but deemed dangerous, it would be euthanised by a professional Shark Control Program contractor who is highly trained in humane methods to kill a shark.
"Shark control equipment is serviced every second day, weather permitting, by independent contractors who work under the supervision of the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol."