October 22nd, 2008
A LEADING humane society has condemned the killings of two great white sharks caught on drum lines off the Gold Coast. See other readers comments and have your say
A LEADING humane society has condemned the killings of two great white sharks caught on drum lines off the Gold Coast.
The 2.1m female was caught on a line on Wednesday near popular swimming spots at Rainbow Bay.
A second great white, a 2.23m male, bit through a drum line and dragged its buoy into the shallows of Mermaid Beach before dying last week.
The Humane Society International says great whites are protected under state and federal legislation and that Queensland and NSW shark control programs are outdated.
HSI program manager Danielle Annese said the shark control programs had killed tens of thousands of sharks and plunged populations to extremely low levels since their introduction in NSW 70 years ago.
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``While the NSW government invests in the vicinity of $750,000 annually on its beach meshing program, Queensland maintains a double-barrelled approach to culling this threatened species by employing both shark nets and baited drum lines in their shark control program,'' Ms Annese said.
``Nearly 150 great whites were captured in these two programs between 1993 and 2003, 60 of which were caught on Queensland's drum lines.''
But Queensland's Department of Primary Industries shark control program manager Tony Ham said there was no effective way of measuring the impact nets and drum lines had on great white populations.
``Typically we take somewhere in the vicinity of three and six great white sharks per annum, so it's not a particularly high volume catch of that particular species,'' Mr Ham said.
Mr Ham said interactions between humans and great white sharks often had disastrous consequences for humans.
Mr Ham said at this time of the year great whites were following whales into shore on their southward migration.
``We don't want people to die on our popular beaches,'' he said.
``The Queensland Government considers it too important to protect our beaches.''
Ms Annese said hundreds of harmless animals were killed in shark nets and drum lines every year.
``It is not uncommon for turtles, dolphins, or even whales to fall victim to these programs, yet these statistics are ignored in favour of maintaining the pretence that they are protecting the public,'' she said.
``The great charade is that neither program provides a conclusive barrier between the sharks and the swimming public.''
- AAP "