SCEC are advocating for the current Queensland shark control program to be replaced with modern non-lethal technology that ensures the protection of marine life and better safety for beach goers.
The Queensland Shark Control Program (SCP) was introduced by the Queensland government in 1962 with the aim of reducing human/shark encounters at popular tourist beaches across the State. The SCP consists of two types of lethal equipment: baited drum lines (hooks) and nets. Shark nets stretch 186m long, and 6m deep and do little to stop a shark from entering a particular area. Sharks easily and frequently swim under and around nets. When a shark is caught in the net, they are more often than not found on the beach side of the net heading back out to the open ocean.
A Right to Information request conducted in 2014 revealed an astounding 84,800 marine animals had been caught and killed in the QLD SCP. In recent years, this number has continued to skyrocket. SCEC decided to do our own research and collate by-catch data specific to the Sunshine Coast and Rainbow Beach areas, drawn from publicly available information on the Department of Fisheries website. Sadly, over 23 critically endangered Grey Nurse sharks have been caught and killed on the Sunshine Coast, an unacceptable number given their dwindling east coast population. You can take a look at the other startling data we found here. You can also view the location of the equipment here.
Humpback Whale entanglements are also on the rise as the species population continues to grow. The NSW government remove their nets during the Humpback migration season, so why can't QLD?