A Great White Shark at Haunted Bay, Maria Island. PIC: SUPPLIED
A Great White Shark at Haunted Bay, Maria Island. PIC: SUPPLIED

We need to put people before sharks

IT'S a confronting image - a shark, a beautiful apex predator strung lifeless on a nylon cord after slowly suffocating to death. Its once incredible co-ordination replaced by limp lifelessness.

But this is the image Queenslanders create on a regular basis with our massive network of drum lines along the coast.

Of course this contrasts with a very different image. A child plays in the warm tropical waters as her loving parents look on from the white coral sand beach.

Then in an instant a splash, a flash of tail, teeth sink in flesh, the water runs red with blood and a child's life is lost.

No one derives any great enjoyment from seeing sharks culled but this is very much the lesser of these two evils.

Is the science settled on the idea that once a shark starts hanging around a popular swimming area the likelihood of an attack is increased? Probably not.

That said it's very difficult to see how any study could answer that question.

And until one does we will side each and every time with protecting human life over the lives of a dangerous creature.

As both Senator Ian Macdonald and Traeger MP Robbie Katter point out while supporting the Queensland Government's decision to ignore advice from a Senate inquiry into shark mitigation measures that recommended the removal of nets and drumlines, there is a need to be pragmatic about dealing with safety.

Just look at the alternative when species' lives are put above that of humans as we've seen with the flying fox plague that has Charters Towers residents under siege.

The oddity with the debate is the way Green groups and many in the middle decide to protect the sharks but at the same time happily chomp down on a fillet of fresh fish for tea.

No one is saying let's ban all fishing and yet what is the real difference between catching a tuna or a red throat emperor or a salmon and a shark? Surely morally there is none.

And while one catch just makes a tasty meal, the other could save a life.



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