Govt ‘hypocritical’ over great white deaths

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has accused the Queensland Government of being hypocritical for protecting great white sharks and also setting drum lines for them.

Two juvenile great whites – both more than two metres long – were killed on baited drum lines off Gold Coast beaches last week.

The AMCS’s Craig Bohm says great whites are endangered, but 12 have been killed on the coast in five years.

He says baited drum lines that attract sharks to their deaths must be abolished.

“We know that they’ve been identified in the recovery plan for the great white shark and also the grey nurse shark, a harmless shark species, that these beach meshing programs and the drum line programs pose considerable threat to their recovery,” he said.

“We have now got a situation where shark populations are decimated, we desperately need to recover them, and these drum lines continue to kill them.

“The public today understands more than ever that we have actually been swimming and living with sharks for a couple of hundred years now and they pose minimal risk to us.”

But Tony Ham from Queensland’s Department of Primary Industries says drum lines will continue to be used.

“There is an exemption for the purposes of the shark control program for great whites,” he said.

“Our rationale is that they are a predatory shark.

“The gear that we use is set quite close inshore, well within half a kilometre of the coast.

“Any white shark that’s in that area does pose a threat to swimmers, however minimal.”

“Some sharks such as bull sharks are caught more readily in nets whereas some species like tiger sharks, which are a major concern for us, and to a lesser degree white sharks, are caught on drum lines.

“I might make the point that white sharks are also caught in nets quite effectively as well.”