The statement released today from the Queensland tourism industry on shark interactions outlines a clear direction for shark management in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, says the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
Queensland is home to one of the greatest natural wonders in the world, the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. Following recent shark interactions in the Whitsundays, the state’s tourism industry has responded to support the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruling to humanely address shark issues in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The tourism statement clearly shows that the State’s industry does not support changing Australia’s national laws to prop up outdated lethal culling of sharks.
Tooni Mahto, Campaign Manager at AMCS, said “The Queensland Tourism industry has shown considerable leadership in calling for a politically united way forward to protect the stellar reputation of the $6.4 billion Reef tourism industry.
“We fully support the tourism industry in calling for the Queensland Government to seek a positive and productive path forward in the divisive, complex and highly charged issue of shark control.”
Sharks are essential to the health of the Reef. As keystone species they stabilise food chains and help build resilience in coral ecosystems in the face of warming waters due to climate change. However, commercial fishing for sharks within and around the Marine Park has led to declines in populations of large shark species of up to 92% in Queensland.
“The Queensland Government has prioritised Reef protection, making it one of their six priority issues. The Queensland Government must continue its strong leadership in Reef protection, which means protecting its sharks whilst trialling non-lethal alternatives to culling as allowed for by the AAT ruling and encouraged by the tourism industry,” said Mahto.
The call from the Queensland Government to amend Federal laws that govern the management of the Marine Park has so far failed to be supported by the Australian community, with recent polling showing 73% of Queenslanders support replacing lethal drumlines in the Marine Park with non-lethal alternatives.
“Transitioning away from outdated methods of bather protection and moving towards modern methods, such as drone surveillance, gives certainty to the Australian public and the tourism industry that there are serious intentions to listen to all stakeholders in the debate.
“Opening up Federal laws to keep the false sense of security provided by culling sharks in the Reef does no-one any favours, least of all the industry that depends on the Reef for its livelihood,” finished Mahto
Media Contact: Jo Manning 0405 567 228