OVER 29,000 people have signed a Sea Shepherd petition calling for the removal of 140 drum lines and three shark nets from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, urging the State Government to use non-lethal options instead, in a bid to reduce unwanted shark encounters.
The petition will result in a large submission being sent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), which must consider public comments when allowing the drum lines and shark nets within the area. For the past five years, the Queensland Shark Control Program has operated without formal approvals, operating instead under a continuation process from a permit provided in 2010.
Sea Shepherd Australia’s Manager Director, Jeff Hansen stated that the petition draws attention to the fact that the Shark Control Program has been operating without the required public consultation, and that last year, the public rallied across the globe against the use of drum lines in Australia.
“It is obvious from the tens of thousands of people who rallied against the use of drum lines being used in Western Australia last year, that people want non-lethal solutions to shark control measures,” Jeff said.
“It’s 2015 and it’s time for Queensland to move on from 1960’s thinking and into the 21st century, with new technology readily available to prevent shark attacks without the devastating indiscriminate death to thousands of marine animals including dolphins, dugongs, whales, turtles and rays.”
The submission to the GBRMPA, which has been supported by the likes of The Veronica’s and Russell Crowe, states that there is no scientific evidence that demonstrates that drum lines and shark nets improve ocean safety and urges the Queensland Government to consider eco-friendly shark barriers currently in use in Western Australia, shark spotting programs similar to that used in Cape Town, South Africa and sonar technology such as the Clever Buoy rolled out recently by Optus.
“The simple reality is that late last year, the Environmental Protection Authority in Western Australia recommended that a three year program of 72 drum lines be halted due to potential concerns to protected species – here we are talking about double the amount of drum lines for an infinite amount of time in a United Nations World Heritage Site – it’s a no brainer,” Jeff said.
“It is time that inhumane treatment of our marine life is completely erased from our oceans, or we will end up wiping out important keystone marine life that humans rely on for healthy oceans.”
The petition is continuing to attract signatures and is available online at www.seashepherd.org.au/petitions closing at 12 noon AEST on Friday, 10 April 2015.
Source: Sea Shepherd Australia