Minister rules out calls for shark cull
The Queensland government has rejected calls for a shark cull ahead of a meeting with tourism industry leaders near the Whitsundays site where a doctor was killed in an attack.
Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said there was “no science” to support calls for culling by members of Katter’s Australian Party and federal LNP MP Keith Pitt.
Mr Pitt has cited conversations he has had with “local fishos” in which the number of sharks was said to be “in plague proportion”. He has called for open permits on their hunting to “thin them out”.
The calls followed Monday’s shark attack at Cid Harbour, in the Whitsundays, which killed Melbourne doctor Daniel Christidis. His death came after Hannah Papps, 12, and Justine Barwick, 46, were victims of separate shark attacks in September. Both survived.
Another attack happened on Wednesday near Ballina, in northern NSW, in which schoolteacher Lee Jonsson suffered a 20cm wound before beating off a great white shark with his surfboard.
There has been an increase in great white shark numbers along the east coast, according to recently published research based on the number and type of sharks caught in nets deployed by the NSW government between Wollongong and Newcastle.
The research, led by Kate Lee from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series in July, found a correlation between sea surface temperatures and the number of sharks caught in nets between 1992 and 2016.
Scott Morrison, who has been touring Queensland this week, said his government would not intervene in the shark control measures implemented by Queensland.
“I’m going to leave it to the local community and the state government to respond to this issue,” the Prime Minister said.
“Let’s not forget that some people lost their lives.
“That is a terrible tragedy and my sympathies go to their family and to their friends.”