Min­is­ter rules out calls for shark cull

The Australian - - THE NATION - MARK SCHLIEBS

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.”

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