ABC 4 Corners confirms what scientists already knew - Killing sharks does not make beach-goers and safer
Earlier this week, ABC 4 Corners highlighted the work of Associate Professor Laurie Laurenson from Deakin University, which gave further scientific verification to the proposition that shark nets do not reduce the risk of shark bite. This conclusion was also reached by 305 scientists from around the world who wrote to WA Premier Barnett in July, 2014 in relation to the deployment of drum lines.
Humane Society International (HSI) has asked the Federal Government to “call in” and assess the NSW and QLD Shark Control Programs (drumlines and nets) under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999.
As the conservation NGO responsible for the legal protection of a number of threatened shark species in Australia, HSI has long had major concerns with the use of shark nets and drumlines for bather protection, and the work of Deakin University merely confirms that shark control programs are providing nothing more than peace of mind, at the expense of our marine environment.
HSI marine scientist Jessica Morris said today, “Shark nets are indiscriminate killers, and not only are they depleting shark populations, they affect our marine turtles, dolphins and whales. The Deakin University findings show that shark nets are an archaic method of providing “protection” and in reality are just a shark culling exercise designed to kill top marine predators.”
The majority of beaches in NSW and Queensland had never experienced a shark encounter before nets and drumlines were installed. Turtles are one of the largest groups of bycatch in the QLD shark control program and 415 marine turtles were captured on QLD Drumlines between 2001 and 2010. Every year the NSW and QLD shark programs kill hundreds of sharks. Including species of hammerheads, which are not harmful to humans, and are threatened with extinction in NSW (and recognised as such under international conservation treaties).
“This is not the first study that shows that shark control programs, offer no real defence against a shark interaction; Hawaii gave up their drumline program due to this fact. People understand that there are sharks in the ocean, and they knowingly take a risk to enter the water. The majority of people, including those that have been personally affected by shark bite, have said they do not want sharks killed as a result.
Ms Morris concluded, “HSI is continuing to look at the legal options available to us to put an end to the NSW and Queensland shark control programs, and seeks further international protection for Australian shark species at the coming Second Meeting of the Signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks.”