New evidence indicates smart drumlines and a catch-and-release shark control program won’t work on the Capricorn Coast.
New evidence indicates smart drumlines and a catch-and-release shark control program won’t work on the Capricorn Coast.

Another piece in drumline puzzle

NEW evidence indicates smart drumlines and a catch-and-release shark control program won’t work on the Capricorn Coast.

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner revealed on Friday that a report into shark movements at Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays had provided further proof that catching and releasing sharks as a safety measure does not work in the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr Furner said Biopixel Oceans Foundation had been catching and tagging sharks in the Whitsundays following last year’s attacks.

“A number of sharks have either been recaptured or detected back in Cid Harbour after being tagged and released,” he said.

“This includes one tiger shark that was recaptured twice on the same day.

“Unfortunately sharks don’t immediately leave the area and head into deeper water for extended periods of time, like the white sharks that have been tagged in trials in New South Wales.”

Mr Furner said Biopixel’s findings backed up the results of an independent report delivered by Cardno earlier this month.

Cardno’s report found that so-called smart drumlines and catch-and-release shark control programs would be impractical and ineffective in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park because sharks caught and released would likely move into other areas that might be used by swimmers and other water users.

Most of the Capricorn Coast’s popular swimming beaches fall under Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning and there’s been heightened community concern since the Queensland Government last month halted its shark control program at 27 beaches to comply with a Federal Court decision preventing cruelty to sharks.

That saw the reduction of shark drumlines on the Capricorn Coast from 49 to just seven, making this the most heavily impacted region.

This week Livingtsone Shire Council launched a bid to have the traditional drumlines reinstated.

Mr Furner said the Queensland Government was doing everything it could to ensure swimmer safety.

“There’s now 54 drumlines installed at popular beaches but many areas inside the Commonwealth Great Barrier Reef marine park remain unprotected,” he said.

“The solution remains clear - the Federal Government needs to change course and legislate immediately to allow our longstanding catch-and-remove shark control program back in to the Marine Park.”

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga urged Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry to stand up for Queensland swimmers and tourists by getting behind the state’s shark control program.

Mrs Lauga said it was time for the Liberal National Party to abandon its support for a catch-and-release program in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

“Michelle Landry has a responsibility to stand up for far north Queensland swimmers and the tourism industry that brings so much to the region’s economy,” Ms Lauga said.

“Staying silent is not an option – she needs to call her colleague.”

Ms Landry responded by saying that the State Government could rectify the situation immediately and put the traditional drumlines back in, alongside the trial of smart drumlines.

“The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority already issued the Queensland Government with a permit to continue using traditional shark drumlines within the marine park,” she said.

“Due to this, a legislative solution by the Federal Government is not actually required to get the traditional lines back in as normal.”