While the methods developed by the Shark Control Program (SCP) provide human protection, small numbers of other marine animals (non-target species) are accidentally captured in SCP equipment. Fisheries Queensland is committed to investigating all avenues to minimise impacts on non-target species.
Comprehensive marine animal release contingency plans have been developed, including the implementation of the Marine Animal Release Team (MART). MART is made up of volunteers from the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol who undertake the release of marine animals (mainly humpback whales) during the whale migration.
Other strategies used by the SCP to minimise bycatch include:
- using drumlines instead of nets when possible
- releasing non-dangerous sharks
- escorting whales past the nets by positioning vessels between the whales and the equipment during the humpback whale migration season (June-November)
- fitting all nets with electronic warning devices (pingers) to warn whales and dolphins of the presence of the nets
- fitting deflectors on drumline hooks at certain locations which reduce the number of turtles captured
- using alternative baits which reduce dolphin and turtle captures.
If you notice that an animal has been entangled in shark control equipment, contact the 24-hour Shark Hotline on 1800 806 891 (free call within Queensland).