Shocking pictures of marine life killed or injured by Queensland shark nets have been obtained under FOI and released by Sea Shepherd Australia, showing dolphins, rays and turtles caught in nets.
Sea Shepherd spokesperson Jonathan Clark said, ‘The true cost of this shark culling program is obvious – too many precious animals are dying. These walls of death are not proven to do anything for swimmer safety yet they have a devastating toll on marine life as shown in these disturbing images.
‘Mark Furner [whose responsibilities as state minister include fisheries and animal welfare] needs to action the removal of these deadly nets from all Queensland’s beaches and replace them with modern animal-friendly solutions immediately,’ said Mr Clark.
‘This push for modern animal-friendly solutions comes as successful drone trials have proven the new technology to be a viable solution and people are realising that the nets are misleading and don’t increase safety, as sharks can easily swim around them,’ he added.
Not just Queensland
Similar disturbing photos of animals caught in NSW shark nets, released recently, have already pushed four councils across NSW to vote for their removal from local areas.
Sydney’s Northern Beaches voted unanimously this week to have the nets removed.
These moves by NSW councils are adding to the pressure on the Queensland Fisheries Minister to follow suit.
Right now, humpback whales are beginning their migration to the warmer waters of Queensland where there are deadly nets blocking their migration paths.
‘Last year six whales were caught in nets or on shark culling fishing hooks during their annual migration past Queensland’s beaches,’ said Jonathan Clark. ‘We need these fishing devices removed from whale migration paths before more mothers and calves are entangled and possibly drown.’
Time for Australia to lead
Jeff Hansen, Sea Shepherd Australia’s Managing Director says Australia can become a world leader in animal-friendly beach safety programs.
‘Mark Furner has been considering removing shark nets from Queensland’s waters and now is the right time,’ said Mr Hansen.
‘Sharks are the doctors of the ocean, critically important to ocean health and in reality, sharks can live on our planet without us, but we can’t live here without them,’ he said.
‘Their fate and ours, is connected, and with oceanic sharks species collapsed by at least 70% globally, we need leaders to take action to allow their populations to recover, for our ocean and future generations,’ said Mr Hansen.
Following gallery of images supplied by Sea Shepherd Australia, obtained from the QLD Shark Control Program in the calendar year 2019, by Envoy Film via Right To Information: