MEET YOUR MP
A Member of Parliament (MP) is expected to be a spokesperson for local interests and that's why meeting with your local MP can be a powerful tool for solving problems. You can make your local politician aware of the problem and ask for the change you want to see.
Here you will find information, facts, figures and discussion points you can use to feel prepared and confident when you meet with your local MP.
Multiple studies show the current shark culling programs in Queensland (QLD) and New South Wales (NSW) has not affected the number of shark-human incidents
There have been almost 70 bites and 3 fatalities at ‘protected’ beaches in NSW and QLD. (Source: Australian Shark Incident Database)
500+ cases of predation have been found on animals caught in shark nets and drumlines in QLD alone. Animals caught in nets and drumlines essentially become bait and attract larger sharks closer to shore (QLD Shark Control Program data file comments)
The Humane Society International (Australia) v QLD Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries court case in 2019 determined that "the lethal component of the Shark Control Program does not reduce the risk of unprovoked shark interactions. The scientific evidence before us is overwhelming in this regard".
The Federal Government Senate Inquiry into Shark Mitigation and Deterrent Measures in 2017 is seemingly being ignored by state governments. These findings very clearly showed the programs do not work and they in fact provide a false sense of security to ocean goers.
Studies have shown that fatal shark-human interactions on protected beaches have decreased due to advancements in medical care and earlier access to treatment, rather than as a result of shark culling programs. (Source: Effects and effectiveness of lethal shark hazard management, 2019)
Since 1962 the fatality rate has averaged 0.37 per year, a number not significantly different than previous decades. During the 160 years from 1850 to 2010, the average fatality from shark bite rate varied. From 1850 to 1910 it was 0.32 fatalities per year, but then a spike in fatalities in the 1920s saw the average increase to 1.1 per year. Following that, the rate of fatal bites generally declined, falling to a low of 0.2 per year in the 1990s (Source: Has Queensland really saved lives by killing thousands of sharks, 2014).
NOW IS THE TIME TO END THE SHARK CULL
83% of Queensland’s drumlines occur in areas where there has never been a recorded fatality, with records dating back to 1852. Furthermore, 40% of all shark entanglements have occurred on the beachward-side of the net as the animal is swimming back out to sea.
The majority (16 of 19) of shark species on the Government's target lists are accepted as not posing a lethal threat to humans
Shark populations have been decimated since the program began. Tiger sharks -74%, Whaler sharks -84%, White -92%, Hammerhead -92% (Source: Decline of coastal apex shark populations over the past half century, 2018)
Information on proven and peer-reviewed modern technology alternatives are readily available to the Government (Source: Review of Alternative Approaches, Cardno 2019)
The documentary Envoy: Shark Cull is available for worldwide streaming. The documentary has on the global stage embarrassed Australia, in particular the QLD and NSW Governments. The filmmaker's impact survey data shows the majority of international viewers will now reconsider or avoid future visits to Australia and particularly QLD and NSW.
THE PUBLIC IS AGAINST SHARK CULLING
Numerous polls show the public is strongly opposed to shark culling
The Morning Show asked: Four sharks have been killed following two attacks that left victims in hospital—do you think sharks should be culled? 90% No, 10% Yes (13.1K votes)
ABC Brisbane asked: Should sharks be culled in response to attacks on humans? 84% No, 16% Yes (9.1K votes)
Channel 7 Brisbane asked: Do you agree with catching and killing sharks? 23% Yes, 77% No (12.7K votes)
Courier Mail asked: Should sharks be culled in Queensland? 31% Yes, 69% No (552 votes)
Fairfax Media asked: Do you support the culling of sharks after an attack? 10% Yes, 90% No (voter number unknown)
WHAT YOUR MP
MIGHT SAY, AND HOW YOU CAN RESPOND
The Shark Control Program / Shark Meshing Program is not a cull
The definition of cull is to "reduce the population of (a wild animal) by selective slaughter", which is exactly what these programs do.
Shark control equipment is used to catch and reduce the number of potentially dangerous sharks
In Hawaii more than 4,500 sharks were culled over nearly two decades. The program was abandoned in favour of non-lethal measures, after an evaluation demonstrated that the cull did not impact the number of swimmer fatalities.
Shark control equipment "fishes-down" local populations of potentially dangerous sharks, and stops them from developing home ranges near beaches
The three shark species of concern (White, Tiger and Bull) are highly migratory species and do not have home ranges in the way that is implied here. They regularly travel thousands of kilometres, and up to 100km a day. White sharks can even circumnavigate the globe. This program does not "fish-down" (reduce) local populations, because there are no local populations.
Shark control equipment has been proven to reduce the number of fatalities at protected beaches
This statement goes directly against studies that show that the number of fatalities has actually decreased because of quick medical care. There have still been almost 70 bites and 3 fatalities at 'protected' beaches. The sole purpose behind these programs is to reduce the risk of a shark bite occurring by depleting the local abundance of sharks, despite this being scientifically disproven to be effective (shark bites and shark population do not correlate). There is no scientific evidence that supports the effectiveness of shark culling programs.
The Queensland Government is committed to reviewing and adapting the program in line with emerging science and community expectations. The government always puts the safety of people first and will not make changes until effective alternatives suitable for Queensland conditions are identified and proven.
There is no need for trials with these alternative solutions. They have been trialled in other parts of Australia and the world. They have proved effective so it is time to roll them out and replace (not supplement) current lethal methods.
A coalition of organisations have drafted a Queensland Shark Control Program Modernisation Proposal and Cost Estimate using data provided to the Queensland Government in the 2019 Cardno Review of Alternative Approaches.
The program requires upfront expenditure to build and buy some infrastructure (shark barriers, drones etc) and thereafter will cost HALF the amount of the current QSCP budget, and create far more jobs.
A copy of this proposal can be accessed here: envoyfilm.com.au/solutions.
New South Wales
Whilst the QLD modernisation costing exercise has not been repeated for NSW as yet, because they are already so active with drones and smart drumlines, the ask in NSW is simple: remove the 51 shark nets now, and rely on the proven non-lethal technology already being used.
The recent investment of $21.4 million into alternative measures for the 2020/21 season has demonstrated that non-lethal alternatives are viable and in use currently; the only thing required is the removal of 51 nets that don't work.