Culling of tiger sharks after Whitsundays attacks sparks heated debate

Fisheries Queensland officials dropped baited hooks in the area and killed the three sharks after Hannah Papps, 12, and Justine Barwick, 46, were both bitten in Cid Harbour last week. 

Opposition deputy leader Tim Mander said the protection of people comes before the protection of sharks, despite the government saying it would be impossible to determine whether they were responsible for the life-threatening bites.

Two of the three tiger sharks killed by Queensland Fisheries following attacks in Cid Harbour in Queensland’s Whitsunday region last week. Source: Instagram/Sailingpopeye

In a statement, Fisheries Queensland said it is “unclear if they were responsible for injuries caused to two swimmers this week”.

The sharks, measuring 3.3 metres, 2.6 metres and 2 metres, were caught and shot before they were cut open to have the contents of their stomachs examined.

The jaws were then measured before the carcasses were dumped at sea. Fisheries officers will use the data to try and match the sharks to the attacks.

The sharks are to be measured and cut open before being dumped at sea. Source: Instagram/Sailingpopeye

The move has once again sparked debate over shark culling with Shark Conservation Australia writing on Instagram the killings were “yet another example of a disgusting knee-jerk reaction”. 

“A very shameful day here in Australia,” the group wrote.

“Never mind efforts to educate the public on shark encounters; to have signs up about shark safety; have any of the many non-lethal alternatives employed.” 

Local dive instructor Tony Fontes added: “We’re not really sure that killing sharks is going to make them go away”.

Justine Barwick was bitten by a shark in the Whitsundays. Source: 7 News

Three new drum lines have also been deployed and will remain in place for at least another week, meaning more shark kills are likely.

Australian shark protection group, Ocean’s Keepers, said there are “better and more efficient methods” than adding three drum lines to the area.

“Drones, sonar technology, eco shark barrier, shark spotters (flag and alarm system to keep watch for surfers and swimmers), magnetic and electronic deterrents are just some of the many alternatives for both people and sharks,” the group wrote online.

Victims recovering after attacks

Both victims have now been transferred to hospitals in Brisbane where Hannah is in a critical but stable condition and Ms Barwick was last known to in intensive care, recovering from 18 hours of reconstructive surgery to her injured right leg.

“We would like to thank everyone who has helped and cared for Hannah, including the police, emergency services and the hospital teams,” the girl’s family said in a statement on Friday.

“We ask that everyone, including the media, please respect our family’s privacy during this very difficult time so we can focus our energies on Hannah’s recovery.”

With AAP


Conservation groups have taken aim at the Queensland government after three tiger sharks were killed following two separate attacks in the Whitsundays.