Australian conservationist hunger strikes for shark rights

A marine conservationist in Australia is eight days into a hunger strike in a fight to see shark nets and drum lines removed from along coastal waters.

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Nicole’s hunger strike (Photo: Facebook)

Nicole McLachlan, 25, is calling on the Queensland government to invest in non-lethal methods of shark control. The current program –  which has been in place since 1962 –  is putting the lives of many vulnerable sea creatures in danger.

The shark net and drum lines are in place along the coast to mitigate shark-human interactions at popular beaches. McLachlan is calling on theses “outdated practices” to be replaced by the non-lethal alternatives that are now available.

As an underwater photographer, Ms McLachlan has witnessed the destruction caused by these practices first hand.

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A sea turtle caught in a drum line (Photo: Nicole McLachlan)

In an interview prior to the hunger strike, Ms McLachlan stated, “I think if the public see what the shark nets and drum lines do, there would be more of a tourism downfall because of their existence along our coastlines.”

In 2014, the Western Australian Government removed the 72 baited drum lines off their coast after tens of thousands of people protested against them. Ms McLachlan is calling for a similar response in Queensland.

“I am simply asking for the government to commit to funding, to match the same amount of funding the New South Wales government has put forward, into non-lethal programs and shark-spotting programs as well as a commitment to phase out shark nets and drum lines over coming years,” said Ms McLachlan.

 

You can follow Nicole’s fight at Nicole’s Hunger Strike and support the cause by signing the Change.org petition.

(Photo: Nicole McLachlan)

By AOIFE GALLAGHER

 

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