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Legal challenge to Barrier Reef shark cull after turtles and rays killed

A conservation group is preparing to launch a legal challenge over the Queensland Labor government's shark control program, which it says is unnecessarily killing protected species.

Lawyers for the Humane Society International will appear in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Brisbane today over the controversial drum line program.

It wants the tribunal to order the removal of more than 170 drum lines throughout the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, saying they kill vulnerable species like sharks, turtles and rays.

"Drum lines were first introduced in the 1960s, and since then there has been 60 years of progress in technology and our understanding of shark behaviour," said Nicola Beynon, Humane Society International's head of campaigns.

"There are better ways to protect ocean users that don't kill our marine wildlife."

HSI wants the government to instead use non-lethal methods for shark control.

"Drone surveillance, personal deterrent devices, alert systems and education campaigns on when and where it's safe to swim are far more effective ways of protecting ocean users and the marine environment," Ms Beynon said.

The Queensland government was granted a 10-year permit for the drum lines by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in 2017.
A combination of drum lines and nets are currently used in Queensland waters.

The issue of shark control has recently been the subject of debate after Victorian man Daniel Christidis, 33, died in November after being bitten during a trip to the Whitsundays.

That incident followed separate attacks on Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick and Victorian 12-year-old Hannah Papps within 24 hours in September.

Shark (file picture).
Shark (file picture). Source: istock.com