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Minister Furner once again misrepresents shark science

Queensland Fisheries Minister Mark Furner is making out he has another report to prove his claim that catching and releasing sharks won't work for swimmer safety. However, the Minister's claims are again misleading and disingenuous.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), in a ruling upheld by the Federal Court, has issued an order for Minister Furner to stop shooting sharks caught on drumlines in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The AAT ordered that sharks hooked on drumlines should be tagged and relocated offshore. This is the practice in NSW where they find target sharks do not return to shore.

Minister Furner is today claiming this won't work in Queensland because tagging and releasing sharks for the purposes of research at Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays shows the sharks have stayed in the area. This is because the Cid Harbour researchers were tagging and releasing sharks in situ and were not relocating them.

"It is little wonder sharks were found in the same area. The research at Cid Harbour is not relocating the sharks”, said Lawrence Chlebeck, Marine Campaigns at Humane Society International.

"Minister Furner is twisting science to suit his political game playing with the Federal Government on this issue”, said Mr Chlebeck.

"Earlier this month the Minister falsely claimed that a report by Cardno Research also backed up his theory that non-lethal technology to manage swimmer safety wouldn't work in Queensland, when anyone who read the report would have seen this was plainly not true”.

The AAT found the scientific evidence that culling sharks does not reduce the risk of a shark bite to be 'overwhelming'. The Minister's own expert scientific witness agreed with this on the stand. This is a critical point that the Minister and some in the media insist on ignoring.

87% of 5900 respondents to a 60 Minutes poll this week have said sharks should be protected and not culled. Only 13% supported culling.

"Humane Society International cannot fathom why Minister Furner is so hell bent on killing sharks when legal and scientific fact, and community opinion does not support it,” said Mr Chlebeck.

"As at 1.40pm Minister Furner has issued 34 media releases on sharks in the last 5 weeks. Humane Society International says time would be better spent working with his Department so that drumline contractors can be trained to implement the AAT orders.”


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