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 124m - 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?
Sign your name below to ask our State Government to put non-lethal shark control on the agenda this election. Better solutions exist and it's time we embrace them!
Recent Update on Shark Control Program
The Queensland Government and Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) partnered in 2020 to deliver the SharkSmart drone trial. In these trials, drones monitor beaches and detect sharks to gather data on their movements and behaviours. If a dangerous shark is spotted, lifeguards warn beach goers and temporarily close the beach if necessary. Drone trials at Coolum North and Alexandra Headland, as well as beaches on the Gold Coast and North Stradbroke Island, were initially set to run from September to November 2020, but have since been extended to October 2021. This year, the trial has also expanded to include two additional beaches in North Queensland, where trials will be running from June 2021 to November 2021. Based on initial results, the trial may be extended further to include additional beaches in North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The drumlines and nets will remain in place throughout the trial. This is great news, and a step has been made in the right direction to non-lethal methods, however SCEC still strongly advocates for the nets and drumlines to be removed immediately, or at the very least during the whale migration season.