Whale calf trapped in shark nets off Queensland coast: 'Beyond a joke'

·Environment Editor
·2-min read

A 10th whale has been caught in the Queensland government’s controversial shark nets.

The Department of Fisheries confirmed its Marine Animal Rescue Team (MART) worked to free the humpback calf this morning after it became entangled roughly 200 metres off the coast of Noosa Heads.

Watching the incident from the shore, Humane Society International shark expert Lawrence Chlebeck, told Yahoo News Australia it’s thought the whale spent the night caught in the nets.

A whale has become trapped in shark nets off the coast of Noosa. Source: Tom Loubardi
A whale has become trapped in shark nets off the coast of Noosa. Source: Tom Loubardi

Mr Chlebeck has been joined by a number of locals with signs protesting the nets.

He described the ongoing entanglements as “incredibly frustrating”, calling the lethal component of the Queensland government’s shark control program a “dangerous lie”.

“(The shark control program) provides no benefit to public safety and it’s killing Queensland’s marine wildlife,” he said.

Government urged to remove shark nets during migration

Mr Chlebeck has called on the Queensland government to remove the shark nets during migration season.

Protesters displayed signs at Noosa Heads, calling for shark nets to be removed. Source: Supplied
Protesters displayed signs at Noosa Heads, calling for shark nets to be removed. Source: Supplied

"These entanglements aren’t letting up and they just cause these exhausted whales needless suffering, even if they do manage to get free," he said.

"The migration isn’t going to stop, it happens every year, and the Queensland Government stubbornly refuses to do the right thing and remove the nets for the duration.

"A misguided reliance on outdated and ineffective shark nets is getting the in the way of good decisions.”

Dr Leonardo Guida from non-profit Australian Marine Conservation Society described ongoing entanglements as “beyond a joke”.

Heartbreaking drone video shows whale calf trying to free itself

Video shot by local drone enthusiast Tom Loubardi shows the juvenile whale thrashing about and trying to free itself.

The net can be seen wrapped around its tail and head.

Palaszczuk Government backs controversial shark nets

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner has consistently responded to ongoing criticism of its shark control program by saying the Palaszczuk Government puts human life first.

“We continue to invest in innovation in the Shark Control Program, but we will make no changes unless we are convinced they can be safe and appropriate in Queensland conditions,” he said earlier this week.

"We are trialling catch-alert drumlines within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after court action required us to do so.

"The LNP committed to installing so-called SMART drumlines in the GBRMP in 2019, before any such trial had even commenced."

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