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Why whales keep getting entangled in shark nets and what Queensland should do about it

Today another whale has been caught in shark nets off the coast of Queensland. That's a total of 5 whale entanglements this year so far. Three of these entanglements have happened in the last two days.

The whale entangled in shark nets at Kirra Beach, Gold Coast, this morning is free now, but with what potential injuries? When will the next entanglement happen?

Image of whale entangled in a shark net during a previous whale migration season

It's only a matter of time before the next whale gets entangled in a shark net. It's inevitable.

The whale migration happens like clockwork every winter along the east coast of Australia. It's predictable.

Despite the predictability of the whale migration, the Queensland government refuses to remove the shark nets during the migration. New South Wales removes the shark nets for most of the whale migration each year.

What's the reason Queensland doesn't remove the nets during whale migration? Frustratingly, the Queensland government doesn't have a transparent reply to the question. And that's because there is no possible explanation.

Scientific evidence shows that shark nets are a flawed technology from the 1930s. Although intended to keep swimmers safe from shark bites, shark nets are proven ineffective at reducing shark bites.

The Queensland government, particularly Mark Furner, the Queensland Minister responsible for the shark nets, cannot explain why he is going against the advice of his Scientific Working Group. They have more than once recommended the removal of shark nets during whale migrations and a phasing out of shark nets altogether. There is modern technology that can keep beachgoers safe without sacrificing animals.

We must keep pressuring the Queensland government to, at a minimum, remove the shark nets during the whale migration.

Contact your local MP, especially if you're on the coast, call Mark Furner's office, email him, and tag him on social media. Just do it! It's the only way to get the horrific shark nets out of the water and stop the injury and death of harmless animals.

You can help get the nets out, act now. Say no to shark nets!

The following is an excerpt from:

Why do whales keep getting tangled in shark nets? And what should you do if you see it happen? Published: July 7, 2022 12.29pm AEST, The Conversation, Full Article by Vanessa Pirotta, Postdoctoral Researcher and Wildlife Scientist, Macquarie University

"Worryingly, most humpback whales migrating north from Antarctica haven’t even passed Sydney yet. With more whales travelling to the warm Queensland breeding waters, this probably won’t be the last shark net entanglement we’ll hear about this year.
I’ve seen the reality of whale entanglement in shark nets firsthand, when I studied a humpback whale calf who died in a shark net a few years back. The animal autopsy (necropsy) conducted later confirmed the animal drowned. It was terrible."

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