Minutes 15 November 2018

Queensland Shark Control Program Scientific Working Group Minutes

15 November 2018
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
41 George Street, Brisbane Q 4000

Attendees - Members

Name Position/ Organisation
Mark Doohan Chair / Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF)
Jeffrey Krause Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Matthew Campbell Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Rean Gilbert Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)
Colin Simpfendorfer James Cook University
Richard Fitzpatrick (via Skype) Biopixel TV; James Cook University
Angela Freeman Alliance for Sustainable Tourism
Adam Smith Reef Ecologic, Townsville Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC) Secretary

Attendees - Observers and Guests

Name Position/ Organisation
Minister Mark Furner Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
Claire Andersen Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Johan Gustafson PhD Candidate, Griffith University
Peta Lawlor Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ)
Marcel Green NSW Fisheries

Apologies

Name Position / Organisation
Wayne Sumpton Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Russell Blanchard Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ)

Secretariat

Name Position / Organisation
Tracey Scott-Holland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

1. Introduction

The Chair thanked members for attending and welcomed guests.

2. Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Three members declared that they may have a conflict of interest in relation to the proposed research in Cid Harbour in that they may submit a quote to deliver the research project.

3. SCP Research Strategy and Procedures

The draft ‘Shark Control Program Research Strategy’ and ‘Shark Control Program Research Procedures’ were discussed and members were invited to submit comments on the draft documents. The Strategy outlines the research priorities for the Queensland Shark Control Program and promotes opportunities for researchers to engage in collaborative research with the Program. DAF will manage research conducted in association with the Program as outlined in the Procedures (internal use only).

4. Hammerhead Shark Research Update

Johan Gustafson (PhD candidate, Griffith University) presented results of his PhD research into hammerhead sharks in Southeast Queensland. An analysis of movement and migration of tagged sharks in relation to oceanographic conditions was presented. Hammerhead shark catch in the Gold Coast area of the Queensland Shark Control Program for the period 1996 to 2017 was also presented and discussed.

5. NSW Fisheries Shark Management Strategy

Marcel Green (NSW Fisheries) delivered a presentation about the New South Wales Shark Management Strategy with particular emphasis on trials of new and emerging technologies. Information about helicopter surveillance, NSW SharkSmart app and twitter feed, drones, sonar technology, shark tagging, VR4G listening stations, seabed fencing, shark barriers and SMART drumlines was presented. Results of community sentiment surveys were presented and discussed along with information about the NSW Shark Smart education program.

Members were in agreement that the presentation was very beneficial and collaboration with NSW Fisheries should be continued.

Members discussed the possibility of trialling SMART drumlines in Queensland with potential for short term loan of apparatus from NSW. The logistics and cost associated with servicing the apparatus would need to be considered in selecting a location for trial.

6. Cid Harbour – response and proposed research

The Group discussed three shark bite incidents that occurred in Cid Harbour and the Department’s response to the incidents.

Minister Mark Furner attended and thanked staff who were involved in the incident responses and thanked those members who had provided expert advice in the development of the proposed Cid Harbour research project.

Minister Furner asked the Group whether there was any scientific evidence indicating that shark populations were increasing in Queensland. Colin Simpfendorfer advised that the 3 main species that pose a risk to human safety are white shark, tiger shark and bull shark and that there is no evidence that populations of these species are increasing on the Australian East coast.

Marcel Green provided a brief update to Minister Furner regarding some of the trials of alternative technologies in New South Wales.

The research project proposal was presented to the Group and members’ endorsement of the project will be sought out of session (Action Item 3.1).

Rean Gilbert provided advice on permitting requirements for the proposed research.

7. Target species list - review

The Queensland Shark Control Program currently targets nineteen (19) shark species. A formal process for assessing these species was presented to the Group. The group agreed that the remaining 19 target species should be assessed in accordance with the criteria, with consideration given to the conservation status of the species.

A sub-group of the Scientific Working Group will meet out of session to conduct the assessment and report to the working group at the next meeting (Action Item 1.13).

8. DAF Current Research Projects - update

Matthew Campbell provided an update on current research projects.

  1. Hook and Bait Experiments. Bait experiments have commenced at North Stradbroke Island. Sampling and analysis plan to be submitted to GBRMPA for approval prior to commencement in the GBRMP.
  2. Genetic sampling – Contractors will be trained in sample collection in November 2018 and will commence collection after that time. Sampling and analysis plan to be submitted to GBRMPA for approval prior to collection commencing in the GBRMP.
  3. Retention of deceased specimens for teaching and research.  This project aims to maximise the use of deceased specimens for research and teaching purposes. Deceased specimens may be provided to researchers who are appropriately permitted to possess them for a range of scientific purposes. The proposed research does not seek to increase the quantity of apparatus deployed and is not expected to increase the impact of the Program on marine species. Non-target species will continue to be released alive if possible. Member Rean Gilbert endorsed the project. All other members endorsed the project out of session via email. Sampling and analysis plan to be submitted to GBRMPA for approval prior to commencement in the GBRMP.
  4. Trials of Dolphin Dissuasive Devices have commenced. Preliminary observations by the contractor were discussed and some video footage was presented to members for discussion.

9. Action Items from previous meeting

The status of action items from the previous meeting was discussed and is provided in Table 1.

10. General Discussion

Peta Lawlor (Surf Life Saving Queensland) discussed the partnership between Fisheries Queensland and SLSQ and emphasised the importance of education in achieving safety objectives. Opportunities to strengthen the partnership through education were discussed. The development of fact sheets and introduction of additional shark safety information into SLSQs education program such as ‘Bush to Beach’ could be explored.

Members discussed some recent media relating to the operation of the Group. The Group would like to clarify that there has been no recommendation made by this Group to phase out nets in the Program. The Group may provide advice and make recommendations to DAF on non-lethal technologies that may be suitable for trial in the Program. At this meeting the possibility of trialling SMART drumlines in Queensland was discussed by the Group. No formal recommendation has been made.

11. Next meeting

The next meeting is planned for May 2019 (date and location to be confirmed).

Suggested agenda items for the next meeting included:

  • Status and development of alternative shark mitigation technologies (to be a standing agenda item);
  • update on Cid Harbour research; and
  • an invitation be extended to SLSQ to provide an update on the trial use of drones in association with the CrocWise program in North Queensland.

The Chair closed the meeting at approximately 2:45pm.

12. Abbreviations and Acronyms

DAF                 Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

GBRMP            Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

GBRMPA          Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

the Group         Shark Control Program Scientific Working Group

NSW                 New South Wales

SCP                 Queensland Shark Control Program

SLSQ               Surf Life Saving Queensland

13. References

Cardno (NSW/ACT) Pty Ltd (2015). Shark Deterrents and Detectors. Cardno Pty Ltd, 42 pp.

Table 1: Status of action items from previous meeting.

Action NoActionPerson responsibleCompleted? Y/N
1.1

DAF to investigate possible member from NSW Fisheries.

Note: Marcel Green attended and members agreed it was highly beneficial to hear directly about the learnings from the NSW research program. Invitation to be extended to NSW Fisheries for the next meeting.

Mark DoohanY
1.2

A list of stingray species used as bait in the program to be provided to the Group.

Note: Matthew Campbell confirmed that no species with conservation concerns were being used for this research.

Jeff KrauseY
1.8Prepare data analysis of shark catch during and outside of the stinger season

Jeff Krause

Wayne Sumpton

Matthew Campbell

N
1.10

A list of non-target species taken and capture locations to be provided (completed). Identification of graceful whalers to be checked.

Note: Identification of all graceful whalers was checked by Matthew Campbell. All were confirmed to be other whaler species. Catch records have been corrected.

Jeff KrauseY
1.13

Review the non-dangerous shark species list – out of session and prior to the next meeting. Jeff Krause to facilitate in association with Rean Gilbert, Colin Simpfendorfer, Richard Fitzpatrick, Matthew Campbell and Wayne Sumpton.

Progress recommendation for removal of listed species from the target list. Develop a formal risk assessment process for assessing additional species.

Note: A formal process for assessing the remaining species was discussed along with data requirements to allow the assessment. To be completed out of session prior to the next meeting.

Jeff Krause

Tracey Scott-Holland

N
1.16

Analyse and document the history of hammerhead sharks taken in the program.

Note: Johan Gustafson provided a presentation on hammerhead sharks taken in the Gold Coast are in the Program. Further work can be done in this area.

Wayne Sumpton

Matthew Campbell

Tracey Scott-Holland

N
2.1

DAF to monitor review of bather protection technologies.

Note: The Group agreed that this should become a standing agenda item. Possibility of reviewing/updating the Cardno report (Cardno, 2015) was discussed.

Mark Doohan

Jeff Krause

Y
2.2

Prepare analysis of when and where shark incidents occur.

Jeff KrauseN
2.3Analyse shark catch in relation to contract ‘lay’ periods (historical)Matthew CampbellN
2.4

Angela Freeman to provide a list of social media channels used by other cultures for consideration.

Note: Details of social media channels provided and details of additional channels for other cultural groups may be provided in the future.

Angela FreemanY

Table 2: Ongoing and new action items.

Action No.ActionPerson responsibleCompleted? Y/N
1.8

Prepare data analysis of shark catch during and outside of the stinger season.

Jeff Krause

Wayne Sumpton

Matthew Campbell

 
1.13

Review the non-dangerous shark species list – out of session and prior to the next meeting. Jeff Krause to facilitate in association with Rean Gilbert, Colin Simpfendorfer, Richard Fitzpatrick, Matthew Campbell and Wayne Sumpton.

Progress recommendation for removal of listed species from the target list. Develop a formal risk assessment process for assessing additional species.

Jeff Krause

Tracey Scott-Holland

 
1.16Analyse and document the history of hammerhead sharks taken in the program.

Wayne Sumpton

Matthew Campbell

Tracey Scott-Holland

 
2.2

Prepare analysis of when and where shark incidents occur.

Jeff Krause 
2.3

Analyse shark catch in relation to contract ‘lay’ periods (historical)

Matthew Campbell

 
3.1Cid Harbour Research Project – Project Proposal to be sent to members for endorsementTracey Scott-Holland