Australia is one of the only countries in the world to actively kill sharks in the name of bather protection. Culling programs are not only ineffective at protecting ocean users, but they come at a huge cost to sharks and other marine life.
There are shark nets installed at 51 beaches in New South Wales and 23 beaches in Queensland. These nets are the most indiscriminate of all shark control measures, catching everything from Hammerhead Sharks to Humpback Whales.
Humane Society International won a landmark court case against shark culling in the Great Barrier Reef in 2019.
Queensland’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal found that culling of sharks has a negative impact on the health of the Great Barrier Reef and that killing these animals makes no difference to human safety.
It ordered the end of the lethal component of Queensland Shark Control Program. The Queensland Government has appealed this decision and a hearing will take place later in 2019.
Due to the appeal, lethal drumlines are still in operation in our World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and throughout Queensland. Drumlines use baited hooks to catch and drown sharks. Many sharks are also shot dead on these drumlines if found alive.
New South Wales also continues a lethal shark control program through the use of shark nets, causing suffering and death of many marine animals.
Academic research shows shark nets are ineffective, and human-shark interactions can still take place at beaches with nets and drumlines in Australia.
We can keep people safe in the ocean without culling sharks, by embracing non-lethal technologies like drone surveillance and personal shark deterrents.
Both NSW and Western Australia are trialling the use of SMART drumlines to reduce the lethal take of sharks, but concerns still remain over the stress and injury caused by capture. Both states are also using non-lethal technology as part of shark bite mitigation strategies, however Queensland lags far behind.
This is the number of sharks killed in culling programs in Australia since 2017. 312 of these were killed in nets in New South Wales, while 598 were killed in nets or on drumlines in Queensland. 142 of those were shot dead. That’s one every 4 days.
*Numbers do not yet include sharks killed outside the Great Barrier Reef in QLD in 2018 or sharks killed in NSW in the second half of 2018.
This is the number of other marine animals killed in shark nets or on drumlines in Australia since 2017. This includes 27 turtles, 26 dolphins and 193 rays.
There is a wide range of effective, non-lethal technology available to governments to protect both ocean users and our marine life.
Personal shark deterrents, drone surveillance, emergency alert systems, increased signage and swim and surfer education programs are all ways to stay safe in our oceans.
More about sharks
Learn more about the issues facing sharks in Australia and how you can help become a conservation champion for their protection.
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