Humpback whales off the coast of Brunswick Heads during their annual migration north.
Humpback whales off the coast of Brunswick Heads during their annual migration north. Marc Stapelberg

Sea Shepherd calls on Queensland to dump shark nets

SEA Shepherd Australia has called on the Queensland Government to follow NSW and remove the shark nets along its coast.

NSW Department of Primary Industries minister Niall Blair announced the second NSW North Coast net trial would come to an end after several sightings of protected humpback whales migrating along the east coast.

NSW also removes shark nets from their other 51 sites during the whale migration season.

Sea Shepherd Australia representative Jonathan Clark said Sea Shepherd welcomed news that shark nets would be removed.

"Whale tourism is an important industry in Queensland with some of the finest whale watching tours available in centres from the Gold Coast to Hervey Bay and to Cairns and Port Douglas,” he said.

"Locals and tourists want to see these animals swimming freely without the risk of entanglement,” said Mr Clark.

"We saw possibly 11 entanglements in Queensland Shark Control Program gear last year with a whale calf killed at Kurrawa in a shark net.

"Whilst NSW is removing gear to prevent whale entanglements, Queensland continues at the peril of these majestic marine mammals.”

A Fisheries Queensland spokesperson said the Queensland Government's Shark Control Program operates at 85 of Queensland's most popular beaches.

"More than $3.5 million each year is invested into this important initiative to keep swimmers, surfers and visitors to our famous beaches safe,” the spokesperson said.

"The Queensland Government will not compromise safety and will not reduce the protection that shark nets and drum lines provide to surfers and swimmers.

"The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries continues to monitor the progress of alternative shark deterrent technology trials being conducted in New South Wales.

"If new technologies are shown to be effective in preventing marine life fatalities and are practical for use, they will be considered as part of the program.”