Qld Govt to Use ‘SMART’ Shark Drumlines

By AAP

Non-lethal shark hooks will be trialed in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The federal government has funded $5 million towards non–lethal shark protection measures after the Queensland government lost a court decision last year.

The state government has resisted installing non-lethal shark measures after losing the right to use baited hooks to catch and shoot dead 19 shark species in the world’s largest coral reef.

But of the funding announced on Tuesday, $4 million will go towards non-lethal measures including so-called SMART drumlines, which alert authorities when sharks have taken a bait on a hook so the animal can be removed and released elsewhere.

The funding will also go towards rebating councils to install swimmer safety netting, drone surveillance, and swimmer education.

It is expected the equipment will be installed within weeks.

Queensland Fisheries Minister Mark Furner says the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority amended a permit which took into account workplace health and safety issues.

Furner has previously said handling live sharks and releasing them from drumlines was dangerous for state government workers.

He also released a study that indicated SMART drumlines, or Shark-Management-Alert-In-Real Time drumlines, would not work along the Great Barrier Reef.

Traditionally, sharks are left on the line to die or killed by authorities, and these measures are in place along the rest of the Queensland coast.

The Administrative Appeal Tribunal last year found the lethal component of Queensland’s program does not reduce the risk of an unprovoked shark attack.

There have been several such attacks in the Great Barrier Reef region in the past two years, including the death of Melbourne doctor Daniel Christidis.

The animal rights group which launched the legal action, Humane Society International, on Tuesday welcomed the additional funding.

By Nicholas McElroy