AUS: Another report debunks catch and release shark plan

Media Statement

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
The Honourable Mark Furner

25. October 2019

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A report into shark movements at Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays has provided further proof that catching and releasing sharks will not work in the Great Barrier Reef.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Biopixel Oceans Foundation has been catching and tagging sharks in the area following last year’s attacks.

“A number of sharks have either been recaptured or detected back in Cid Harbour after being tagged and released. This includes one tiger shark that was recaptured twice on the same day,” Mr Furner said.

“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.

“Biopixel’s findings back up the results of an independent report by Cardno earlier this month that found that so-called SMART drumlines and a catch-and-release shark control program would be impractical and ineffective in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as sharks caught and released will likely move into other areas that might be used by swimmers and other water users.”

The research shows that a range of different shark species are present in and around Cid Harbour, including tiger sharks, spot tail sharks, tawny nurse sharks, bull sharks, hammerhead and black tip sharks.

A total of 57 sharks have been caught over three field trips, with the most prevalent being spot-tail and tiger sharks. The largest shark caught was a 3.86m tiger shark.

The report also includes preliminary results of a social science survey on the public’s awareness, perceptions and attitudes toward sharks in the Whitsundays, will help inform further development of the SharkSmart education campaign.

Mr Furner said the Queensland Government is doing everything it can 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.

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

“We understand that many people have strong views on this issue. We have listened and are investing $1 million a year to assess alternatives, however they have to appropriate for Queensland conditions.”

Biopixel’s final report on shark behavior in Cid Harbour is expected to be released in June 2020.

Source: Queensland Government

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