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Court Rejects Appeal, Ruling in Favor of Sharks

In April of this year, Sharkbytes published a blog, One Fin Forward, which praised the Queensland landmark court ruling that overturned the Government’s harmful culling practice where fishing lines are used to kill sharks by drowning after being caught or if found alive, shooting it.

Two days later the courts put a stay on the practice in response to an appeal that was filed to allow the Government to continue this practice.

I’m happy to report a win for sharks. This month a Federal Court decision backed the original court decision that disallows the Queensland government the right to use nets and drum lines to catch and kill sharks in a bid to protect swimmers on the Great Barrier Reef.


In its decision, the tribunal said the scientific evidence about “the lethal component” of the shark control program “overwhelmingly” showed it did not reduce the risk of an unprovoked shark attack.

What this means for sharks is the fisheries department will not be required to carry out the program in a way that avoids killing sharks to the “greatest extent possible.”In addition to not culling sharks, the target shark list of 19 species is also to be removed from the current permit and all tiger, bull and white sharks caught on drum lines are to be tagged before being released. Sharks that are caught on drum lines are to be attended to as soon as possible – ideally within 24 hours of capture – and tagged sharks are to be relocated offshore.

What does this mean for beachgoers? Signage will be installed at relevant beaches so that swimmers are made aware that the shark control equipment has been removed but some still disagree with the new practice. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the new restrictions on the program within the park boundaries meant it was not possible to carry out shark control measures legally and safely.

“The safety of Queenslanders and visitors to Queensland is our top priority and I call once again on the Federal Government to urgently revisit its legislation to allow the Shark Control Program to continue in the form that has served Queenslanders so well since 1962.”

Unfortunately since 1962 the decline in shark numbers along the Queensland coast by more than 90% for some species leaving the call for better protections for sharks in Australian waters is imperative.

Sharkbytes praises the efforts made by the Humane Society International Australia for beginning the fight and the Federal Courts for acknowledging how important sharks are to our waters by backing the original decision.

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