Any shark lover doing a Google search of culling and Great Barrier Reef would be ecstatic at what the results would yield: Shark Culling Banned on Great Barrier Reef after Campaigners Win Landmark Court Ruling. This is such a win for shark conservation. Not only will it contribute to preserving the reef but it will also help prevent the decline of our world's shark population. Both extremely important contributors to the health of our world’s ecosystem.
Shark culling, a policy initiated by the Australian government, serves as a means to lessen the chance of getting bitten by a shark. Thanks to the Humane Society International Australia (HSI Australia), the ineffectiveness of this practice has been acknowledged by the courts and eliminated through legal action brought on by this dedicated organization. The landmark court ruling overturned the harmful culling practice where fishing lines are used to kill sharks by drowning after being caught or if found alive, shooting it. According to HSI Australia, a tribunal found that shooting sharks dead does not reduce the risk of these unprovoked shark interactions.
“Since the 1960s, sharks have been shot dead in the Great Barrier Reef. Today this has ended,” said Lawrence Chlebeck, a marine campaigner at HSI Australia, in a statement after the news was announced. “This is a massive victory for sharks and marine wildlife.”
“The judgment makes it crystal clear that non-lethal technology is the way forward for shark control in the Great Barrier Reef,” Chlebeck added. “As a result of this judgment, finding that killing sharks has no impact on bather safety, HSI calls on the Queensland Government to update its shark management program along the whole Queensland coast.”
While I am excited at the thought of protecting sharks with safer and more innovative deterrent methods, sadly there is still more to be done.
Shark finning is an ongoing issue that needs to be rectified and HSI is teaming up with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) to make that happen.
In April’s news the discovery of illegal shark finning in the Great Barrier Reef demonstrates this problem still exists when a skipper and deckhand were fined $7000 after Queensland Government staff raided their boat and found 31 shark fins on board at the port in Cairns.
One proposed solution by AMCS and HSI is to man boats with independent observers to monitor compliance and stop shark finning.
According to a media release from Save Our Sharks, “Shark finning – the practice of live finning and dumping of sharks at sea – is illegal in Australian waters. However, under Queensland law, sharks can still be cut up and processed at sea providing their separated fins are also kept alongside their trunk or fillets.” The release goes on to point out that the current shark finning law creates a loophole “that allows ‘high grading’ where high value fins and meat can be retained, but are not necessarily from the same shark, which leads to dumping of unwanted sharks” making the demand for independent observers all the more great.
A simple solution in rectifying this complex problem is for the Queensland government to create a ‘fins naturally attached policy’ which will close the loophole that enables illegal live finning to occur. This is most imperative for the preservation of the particularly vulnerable hammerhead whose populations have fallen by up to 92% in the past 55 years as a result of finning.
Please help by visiting www.sharkchampions.org.au and join AMCS and HSI in the fight to stop these deadly practices. Make your voice heard by signing the petition to stop all culling of these precious creatures.