Challenge on illegal poaching
THE Federal Coalition has challenged the Queensland Government to bring the full weight of the law down on dugong and turtle poachers in Far North Queensland.
Federal Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt and Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch have asked Premier Anna Bligh to send the high-powered Crime and Misconduct Commission after the poachers.
The two Liberal MPs issued the call for “urgent real action” to investigate “increasingly credible reports of widespread and systemic poaching of dugongs and turtles” following multiple reports of poaching across the Far North in the past year.
“There is increasing evidence that dugongs and turtles have been poached against the wishes of traditional owners and slaughtered for the sale of their meat,” the joint letter from Mr Hunt and Mr Entsch said.
Around a dozen dugongs have washed up on North Queensland beaches, including Four Mile in Port Douglas, in the past 12 months.
Many of the dead dugongs have had scars from illegal nets.
Premier Bligh said the police, rather than the CMC, were the appropriate authorities to investigate illegal hunting.
“We are working collaboratively with indigenous communities to develop sustainable management plans and address illegal poaching issues,” Ms Bligh said.
“We are training traditional owners to be more vigilant and provide the ’eyes and ears’ to enable us to stamp out illegal poaching and trading.”