AMCS: Shark gag law in Queensland will see $26,000 fine for those found near equipment
Originally posted by AMCS on 27/11/2018
The reality of the Queensland Shark Control Program will soon be hidden from public view, with proposed amendments to the Queensland Fisheries Act set to pass in Parliament making it illegal to be within 20 metres of shark control equipment in the state.
It comes as Humane Society International and the Australian Marine Conservation Society release images of a loggerhead turtle found hooked on a lethal drumline installed at a Gold Coast beach on Friday. The organisations are repeating the call for an end to lethal shark control in Queensland and a cancellation of the gag law.
“Shark control program equipment is indiscriminate and is catching harmless marine animals like this loggerhead turtle. While the turtle was released alive, this ordeal will have caused it significant stress and injury. As soon as the new shark gag law comes into effect, it will be impossible to capture the reality of this destructive program that is killing hundreds of marine animals every year with taxpayer’s money,” said Lawrence Chlebeck, Marine Campaigner at Humane Society International.
The Queensland Government claims that the gag law is needed because Shark Control Program equipment has been tampered with, despite not releasing any evidence of this to the public. It will impose fines up to $26,110 for people found within 20 metres of the equipment.
“Our conservation groups have never, and would never, interfere with shark control equipment. At the very minimum, the Queensland Government should allow permits for conservation groups to document the shark nets and drumlines to maintain transparency for this program. The public has a right to see what nets and drumlines are doing to turtles, whales, sharks and other marine wildlife,” said Dr Leonardo Guida, Senior Shark Campaigner at the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
In October, Humane Society International and the Australian Marine Conservation Society were on the scene and alerted the authorities when a baby whale was trapped in a shark net on the Gold Coast. The conservation groups also released shocking footage of hammerhead sharks caught on lethal drumlines within the Great Barrier Reef in September.
Humane Society International is currently engaged in legal action against the QLD Government and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for shark culling on lethal drumlines within the World Heritage-listed reef. The case will be heard in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal from Wednesday, 30 January 2019.