The reports of shark attacks off Australia’s Whitsunday Islands last month and the subsequent ‘revenge’ shootings of three Tiger sharks nearby are a lamentable and primitive response by Fisheries Queensland to these tragic accidents, Dive Pacific says.
A girl, Hannah Papps aged 12 was fighting for her life after a shark attack, and the other casualty was recovering in the intensive care unit at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital after enduring 18 hours of reconstructive surgery to her injured right leg.
In response Fisheries Queensland set baited hooks attached to drums to catch some sharks in Cid Harbour near where the people were mauled, and when they hooked three Tiger sharks, they shot them.
Fisheries Queensland said one of the sharks measured 3.3 metres and the other two over two metres. Fisheries Queensland said: “While sharks of this size are potentially very dangerous to humans, it is unclear if they were responsible for injuries caused to two swimmers this week. They added that they thought there were too many sharks in the area.
Australian environmentalists questioned the response. Killing sharks in the wake of the two attacks gives swimmers a false sense of security and will not prevent more bites, said spokespersons for Sea Shepherd Australia and Humane Society International. Human safety is paramount they said, but killing sharks is not the answer.
The state government insists killing the sharks is in the interest of public safety despite admitting it will never know if they caused the injuries. AAP reported Sea Shepherd’s Jonathan Clark saying that personal shark deterrent devices, aerial spotters, drone surveys, public education and alert systems play a bigger role in protecting ocean-goers.
“Stop the nonsense about speaking of ‘effectiveness’ only in terms of their ability to kill sharks,” Clark said.
“That is lazy policy. Making beaches actually safer is much harder and unrelated to their ability to kill sharks.”