Greens release plan for Federal Government leadership on protecting marine life and mitigating risks of shark bites


The Federal Government has an important role to play in protecting endangered marine life killed by lethal shark nets and drumlines deployed by the states. It also has a significant role in driving national investment in emerging shark risk mitigation measures to protect ocean goers. 

Unfortunately the Morrison Government has deliberately avoided taking any responsibility and has shown no leadership in this critical matter of public interests. 

The Greens will today be launching a fully funded national shark mitigation plan that protects both precious marine life and people, and is based on extensive evidence from a ground-breaking Senate inquiry. 

Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson for healthy ocean, Senator Peter Whish Wilson:

“Sharks have played a critical role in the Dreaming, song, dance, culture and law of First Nations people since time began. For many First Nations people sharks continue to be important as a connection to culture, songline, Country, Sea Country and community.

“However, despite this cultural and ecological importance, shark numbers are falling at an alarming rate, declining by around 70 percent since the 1970s

“Fixed-drum lines and mesh-nets are designed to entangle and kill sharks but are also indiscriminate killers and weapons of mass destruction to other protected marine life.

“There is no evidence that nets and drumlines make ocean-goers safe. They are merely fisheries devices designed to lower shark populations and provide a false sense of security to surfers, swimmers and other ocean goers.

“Australia is the only country in the world to utilise these lethal and unjustified measures, making us an international embarrassment.

“The Greens have been campaigning for over a decade to transition away from outdated lethal methods of shark control and replace them with measures that help better protect both human life and marine life. 

“In 2018 the Australian Senate inquiry into shark mitigation policy found that the Federal Government needs to show leadership in striking the right balance between mitigating the risks of shark encounters and conserving nature.

“The Federal Government has a clear and critical responsibility in protecting federally listed endangered marine life, as well all Australians who love and use the ocean.

“The issue of shark mitigation needs to be a nationally coordinated approach with evidence-based programs and consistency across states. 

“The Greens have a blueprint for the federal government to help manage the risk of shark encounters and strike the right balance between the role of government and personal responsibility.” 

The Greens will: 

  • End federal exemptions used by the states for new lethal shark control measures for the use of lethal shark nets and drum lines; 

  • Fund $50 million over ten years to supercharge research and development of non-lethal shark control measures that can replace nets and drum lines;

  • Establish a National Sharks Working Group across all states that will look at multiple ways to make ocean goers safer; 

  • Establish a publicly accessible national database of interactions with shark control measures, critical for research and education-awareness programs.

  • Have the ACCC investigate all existing shark mitigation technologies for efficacy and establish national advertising and product promotion standards