A Federal Court in Australia has banned the shark culling program by the Queensland state government in protected areas of Great Barrier Reef. The case was put in by an animal welfare group known as Human Society International. Government fears that this order will lead to increase in shark population and harm tourism industry which Australia is so heavily reliant on.
According to reports, the case in court was bought by Humane Society International. Marine Campaigner Lawrence Chlebeck said on Thursday that the science is clear and that killing sharks doesn't improve swimmer safety. The case was initially in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in April, Chlebeck elaborated that Wednesday's decision to uphold the order provides the state of Queensland to innovate. Chlebeck said that it is nor true that Queensland must abandon the shark control entirely and that it should abandon only ineffective and deadly shark control. "Time for Queensland Government to invest in an effective but non-deadly shark control and recuse itself from efforts to continue killing sharks," he concluded.
The ruling from the tribunal ensures a pathway to modify the Shark Control program which shall upgrade swimmer safety and protect the Great Barrier Reef marine ecosystem in which sharks play a noticeable role, the campaigner said. As a fallout of this order, 173 baited drum lines at 27 beaches between Cairns in north and Gladstone in the south shall be removed out of the water.
The order has riled the state government who fear that an increase in shark attacks can lead to a downfall in the all-important tourism industry.
"These changes, forced on Queensland by an animal activist group and supported by the Environment Defenders Office of New South Wales, would turn Queensland's program from a 'catch and remove the risk' program to a 'catch and release the risk' program," Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said. "Our shark control contractors and staff are neither trained nor equipped to safely handle live sharks, tow them away from beaches and then release them alive...Human life comes first. That's why I won't put our staff and contractors in harm's way by asking them to perform dangerous work without being fully trained and equipped," Furner added.
Reportedly, Minster added that safety of Queenslanders and visitors is his government's top priority and he calls on the federal government again to revisit this law and allow the Shark Control Program to continue in the form that has been serving Queenslanders so well since 1962.
(Inputs from ANI)