Drumlines killing endangered sharks in Great Barrier Reef: Experts

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Sydney, Sep 4 (IANS) Protectionist groups on Tuesday warned that Australia’s use of drumlines under the country’s Shark Control Programme in the Great Barrier Reef is killing endangered shark species.

Humane Society International and the Australian Marine Conservation Society released a series of photographs and videos of two endangered scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini) found dead on a line near Magnetic Island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Efe news reported.

“Lethal drumlines are an old and ineffective method of bather protection. They catch and kill hundreds of non-target marine animals in the Great Barrier Reef,” Nicola Beynon, head of campaigns at Humane Society International, said in a statement.

“Lethal drumlines provide nothing more than a completely false sense of security, at the expense of the lives of threatened species that are crucial to our Great Barrier Reef ecosystem,” she added.

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Tooni Mahto, a campaign manager at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said these “same ineffective, lethal methods” have been used by successive Queensland governments since the 1960s.

She called “for a change in our views of sharks and a change in policy to reflect that.”

According to Shark Control Programme statistics, 10,480 sharks – many of them innocuous – have been caught on lethal drumlines since 2001 in the Great Barrier Reef, declared a World Heritage area.

It has also killed a significant numbers of rays, turtles, fish and dolphins.

“Humane Society International is currently engaged in legal action against the QLD Government and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for shark culling on lethal drumlines within the World Heritage-listed reef,” the statement said.

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There are 173 drumlines that operate within the Great Barrier Reef, although the Queensland government has removed seven of the 26 species of shark from its target list since the legal challenge was launched.



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