Shark controls for Cap Coast

NEW shark drum lines will be installed along the Capricorn Coast but the Federal Government believes that the shark protective measures should never have come out of the water.

Following a Federal Court decision preventing the culling of sharks using drum lines in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the Queensland Government announced a plan on Wednesday to install additional Shark Control Program equipment just outside the boundary of the marine park.

Lammermoor Beaches existing five drum lines will be bolstered with an addition two.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said 17 extra drumlines were going into the water between Townsville, Mackay, Capricorn Coast and Gladstone.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said her government was 100 per cent committed to the safety of swimmers at our beaches.

“I want to see all of the Shark Control Program drumlines back in the water and the Federal Government must act now to change its legislation to allow this,” Ms Lauga said.

But Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the Queensland ­Government’s decision to remove the drum lines was an unnecessary political stunt where they were choosing “public alarm over personal safety.

She said the Australian Government solicitor advised there were no legal grounds to remove the drum lines immediately.

“Any legislative change at a federal level could not be made overnight and knowing that the State Government had sat back for five months since the initial decision without preparing alternative options,” she said.

“Queensland should reinstate the existing drum lines, while increasing surveillance and exploring modern complementary technologies such as drones, smart drum lines and tags.”

The deployment of additional drumlines outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park followed last week’s Federal Court decision which meant that all sharks caught within the marine park must now be tagged and released alive within 24 hours.

Mr Furner accused the opposition of wanting to catch and release dangerous sharks near the most popular swimming areas, instead of backing a longstanding Queensland approach of catching and removing the risk.

“At this time, we do not have the appropriate equipment to immediately and safely comply with these new conditions,” he said.

“Consequently, we have had no choice but to suspend our program within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

“We are undertaking a range of communications activities to advise the community, Surf Life Saving Queensland and tourism organisations about the removal of shark control equipment.

“The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol staff have installed temporary signs at affected beaches to advise swimmers that Shark Control Program equipment has been removed.

“The Government will also continue the swimmer safety SharkSmart education and awareness campaign, and some locations, such as Cid Harbour, will remain as swimming exclusion zones.”

Mr Furner said the government was committed to trialling alternatives but didn’t believe that SMART drumlines, which have been trialled in other states, were appropriate in the Great Barrier Reef.

“In these trials, sharks can be relocated offshore safely but in much of Queensland’s north, releasing sharks offshore is potentially dangerous because many of these areas are important tourism destinations used by swimmers or other water users.”

The LNP claims 28 of those drum lines were removed from beaches that were not covered by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruling, but it has been denied by Fisheries Minister Mark Furner.

Be Safe. Be SharkSmart

  • Don’t swim at dawn or dusk
  • Always swim in clear water (not in murky water, anchorages, estuary mouths or canals)
  • Don’t throw food scraps or fish waste overboard
  • Don’t swim where fish are being cleaned
  • Swim, surf, snorkel or dive with a buddy
  • Follow local signage and swim between the flags at patrolled beaches.