The Great Barrier Reef shark control program has been suspended after a tribunal ruled sharks found alive on drumlines must be released.
The case was heard in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in January 2019, and in April 2019 the Tribunal ordered that sharks no longer be culled in the Great Barrier Reef based on the evidence that killing sharks makes no difference to swimmer safety
The decision has come after Humane Society International (HSI) earlier this year launched a challenge to the shark control program run by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
In its decision, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal says the scientific evidence about "the lethal component" of the shark control program "overwhelmingly" showed it does not reduce the risk of unprovoked shark attacks. Humane Society International campaigner Lawrence Chlebeck said non-lethal technology was the way forward for shark control in the Great Barrier Reef. "This is a massive victory for sharks and marine wildlife," he said in a statement.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park will now only be permitted to authorise the euthanasia of sharks caught on drum lines on animal welfare grounds, "specifically when a shark is unlikely to survive release due to its condition or an injury, or which cannot be safely removed alive due to weather conditions or hooking location". Furthermore. contractors must attend to caught sharks within 24 hours, and all tiger, bull and white sharks to be tagged before release.
Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said contractors did not have the capability to immediately comply with the new conditions. Mr Furner said the government would appeal the tribunal's decision.