Shark nets to stay as government rejects Senate call to phase them out

Michael Berkman calls on Queensland Government to remove drumlines.

Queensland will continue to support shark nets that have "saved lives", despite a federal inquiry arguing they should be phased out.

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The Senate inquiry found the New South Wales and Queensland governments should phase out shark nets and replace the lethal drum lines with more sophisticated gear to limit unnecessary harm to marine life.

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said there was no plans to phase out shark nets in Queensland.

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said there was no plans to phase out shark nets in Queensland.

The report noted the frequency of shark bites on humans was "infinitesimal" even as the number of beach visits continued to climb.

Greens member for Maiwar Michael Berkman called on the government to remove drumlines.

"If Premier Palaszczuk was concerned about the effects of land-clearing on our wildlife, she should be equally concerned about the effects of these lethal drumlines are having on our marine life," e said.

"This unecessary and outdated technology is entanling and killing sharks, turtles, dolphins and whales.

"We can rapidly reduce the deaths to our marine life while learning more about shark ecology with the introduction of smart lines, particularly within the Great Barrier Reef marine park."

But Queensland Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said the Palaszczuk government remained steadfast in its support of the shark control program.

"It has undoubtedly saved lives," he said.

"That's why it will continue.

"While we continue to monitor emerging technology, the safety of swimmers is paramount."

Mr Furner said in the past 55 years, only one person was killed by a shark at a protected Queensland beach.

"That is one too many but sadly, no measures are foolproof," he said.

Mr Furner said the Queensland government's submission to the Senate inquiry said the safety of humans was the priority and any moves to remove the protections on beaches would place lives at risk.

In Queensland, 85 beaches are protected by nets or drumlines in a program that has been supported by successive governments since 1962.

In September last year, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk offered to build shark nets and drum lines south of the border, following an attack on a teenager at Ballina.

"I think the time has come where shark nets and drum lines are extended from Queensland beaches into northern NSW," she said at the time.

 

Brisbane Times | 13 December 2017

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