sharks appeal win - EDO NSW

Qld govt loses bid to overturn orders ending lethal shark control measures in Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

18 September 2019: An application by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) appealing the orders made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to end the lethal nature of the shark control program in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has been dismissed by the Federal Court this afternoon.

In April this year, following a legal challenge run by EDO NSW on behalf of the Humane Society International Australia (HSI), the Tribunal found that the Shark Control Program within the Marine Park must avoid the lethal take of shark species.

QDAF applied to the Federal Court to overturn the Tribunal’s decision. Today the Full Court of the Federal Court has dismissed the appeal.

“We’re delighted for our client HSI that this important decision stands,” said David Morris, CEO of Environmental Defenders Office NSW. “We were disappointed that the Queensland Government chose not to respect the decision of the impartial, independent umpire in this matter. The decision to appeal demonstrated an unwillingness to listen to the evidence and invest in ensuring that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Shark Control Program meets contemporary environmental standards”.

“The Administrative Appeals Tribunal found that there was overwhelming scientific evidence that the lethal component of the Shark Control Program does not reduce the risk of unprovoked shark interactions”.

“In light of the known environmental harm that this program causes to the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, it is vital that the Queensland Shark Control Program catches up to the rest of the world and moves to a non-lethal program.

The Tribunal decision grants permission to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for its Shark Control Program but requires it to:

  • avoid the lethal take of sharks and remove the list of target sharks from the permit;
  • ensure drum lines are attended to as quickly as possible when sharks are captured, and require that the euthanasia of sharks caught on drum lines is only undertaken on animal welfare grounds;
  • ensure all tiger, bull and white sharks caught on drum lines are tagged then released so that their movements can be monitored and researched;
  • ensure SMART (Shark Management Alert in Real Time) drum lines are trialled and implemented as soon as reasonably possible;
  • conduct research into alternative non-lethal shark control measures; and
  • require research to be conducted into the at-risk tiger shark population.