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Petiton – End shark culling in Australia

Tell the New South Wales and Queensland governments to end the culls now and implement more effective non-lethal alternatives.

2,803 of 5,000 Signatures

— Overview —

What Is A Shark Cull?

If you're like most Australians, you'll be asking yourself "exactly what is a shark cull?" Put simply, shark culling is a deliberate government action to kill and reduce the numbers of sharks in our oceans, which is usually an unthoughtful, knee-jerk reaction to a shark attack. Unfortunately, our government authorities aren't marine ecology experts and don't always understand the impacts of such a decision. Australia is one of the only countries in the world to actively kill sharks in an attempt to protect ocean users. Culling programs are not only ineffective at reducing the risk of shark bite, but they come at a massive cost to sharks and other marine life.

Shark nets are installed at 51 beaches in New South Wales and 25 beaches in Queensland. These nets are the most indiscriminate of all shark control measures, catching everything from hammerhead sharks, rays and sea turtles, to dolphins and humpback whales.

Three hundred and eighty-four lethal drumlines are installed at beaches along the Queensland coastline. If one of 19 target species of shark is caught on the line, it is shot and killed. Drumlines kill hundreds of marine animals every year.

Deaths caused by nets and lethal drumlines include threatened, vulnerable and endangered marine life that our state and federal governments are legally responsible to protect.

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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 sharks has no impact on human safety. 

It ordered the end of the lethal component of Queensland Shark Control Program within the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef. After an appeal from the Queensland government, the decision was upheld.  

Drumlines are still in operation in the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, though must now be managed non-lethally through frequent service and the tagging and relocation of large sharks. 

Academic research shows shark culling is 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 such as drone surveillance, personal shark deterrents and education. 

New South Wales and Queensland are currently using drone surveillance and trialling the use of SMART or Catch-Alert drumlines to reduce the lethal take of sharks. While concerns remain over the stress and injury caused by capture, these drumlines are designed to be non-lethal and can greatly reduce the wildlife deaths in these programs.  


Shark bites, though potentially tragic, are extremely rare. In Australia in 2017, you were 5 times more likely to die from lightning than from a shark bite.

Accidental Falls
Hornet, Bee or Wasp Sting
Shark Bite
*Data from the ABS: Causes of deaths in Australia in 2017. Percentages (%) shown as a total of the deaths conveyed (4,325).
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— That’s 12 every week —


This is the number of sharks killed in culling programs in Australia since 2012. 1,353of these were killed in nets in New South Wales, while 4,737were killed in nets or on drumlines in Queensland.  That’s 12 sharks every week. 

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— It’s not just sharks —


This is the number of other marine animals killed in shark nets or on drumlines in Australia since 2012. This includes 149 turtles, 153 whales and dolphins and 647 rays. 

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There is a wide range of effective, non-lethal technology available to governments to protect both ocean users and our marine life, so next time someone asks “What is a shark cull?” please recommend the solutions below.

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. 


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