Australian Greens spokesperson for Healthy Oceans, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, has joined animal rights groups in criticising the Queensland Government's response to two recent shark bites.
"I've been a long-standing critic of the Queensland Government's attitude towards shark culling. My own state of Tasmania has a very different approach to shark interactions.
Speaking on ABC Radio this morning, Senator Whish-Wilson said the Senate Inquiry he chaired into shark mitigation found that the baited hooks on 'drum lines' are not a solution to making the oceans safe; there are better ways.
"The Inquiry went all around the country and heard significant evidence - these devices don't make the oceans safe.
"I would say to the Queensland Government, 'How many more sharks do you need to kill before you can guarantee it's safe for swimmers to go back into those waters?
“The only thing this new drum line rollout is going to prove is that there are a lot of sharks in the ocean, as you would expect, given it’s their home. “They are always present, and while interactions with humans are rare, we all need to be aware the ocean is not a risk free environment. As a surfer and father I am well aware of this myself.
"Of course human protection and safety is absolutely critical and we need to reduce risks. My heart goes out to anyone who is bitten by a shark, and their families and people who are traumatised, but killing sharks en-masse is not the solution.
"What we are seeing in Queensland is a political solution to a political problem.
"There is so much more we can do to mitigate risks without killing wildlife. Hopefully the high profile nature of this week’s traumatic events will be an opportunity for decision makers to look at other more sustainable solutions.
“The Senate inquiry into shark mitigation has outlined a national blue print for change, better ways to manage risks to both humans and wildlife. I wish some politicians would look at this.
"You need to keep this in perspective – shark bites are very rare, there are better things we can do to protect people than use last century mitigation devices like baited hooks and nets. These not only kill tens of thousands of sharks, but also kill other protected marine species.
"Dolphins caught on those baited hooks and we get sting rays, turtles and whales caught in shark nets that are designed to make beaches safe.
"These kinds of lazy last century devices are weapons of mass destruction to protected marine life and at the end of the day, they are dangerous to humans too if they give ocean goers a false sense of security,” he concluded.
ABC Hobart Mornings Program with Sarah Gillman @11m10sec