Penalty for interfering with Shark Control Program equipment

News Release

The State of Queensland
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

21. May 2020

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Fisheries Queensland has served a Gold Coast man with two Fisheries Infringement Notices (FINs) after he entered the exclusion zone around Shark Control program equipment off Burleigh Heads and interfered with that gear.

On this occasion he is not being given a monetary fine because he has no previous record of infringements with the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP).

This is consistent with the general approach of the QBFP to consider education and awareness before imposing harsher penalties. However, he – or others – may not be so lucky should there be a next time.

To be clearꟷthis incident could have had a tragic outcome. The actions we saw earlier this week were reckless and completely unnecessary.

The Marine Animal Rescue Team (MART) was just minutes away when this person went into the water.

He put himself in serious danger, as well as potentially injuring the whale, and creating a situation where MART could have been at significant risk trying to rescue a trapped swimmer next to the thrashing whale.

In 1992, a surfer drowned after becoming entangled by shark control equipment. This is why there is a 20 metre exclusion zone around shark control equipment.

If you see an entangled animal DO NOT approach or try to release it. Call the Shark Control Program hotline on 1800 806 891 and let the trained and properly equipped experts do their job.

MART trains every year for whale rescue situations, and has the necessary equipment to undertake a safe rescue.

We have an outstanding record of successfully releasing whales. Tens of thousands of whales migrate along our coast every year. In 2019, there were just six whale entanglements, including three on the Gold Coast, and all were successfully released.

Source: DAF Media, The State of Queensland

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