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Australia’s Use Of Drumlines Is Killing Endangered Shark Species

There are 173 drumlines that operate within the Great Barrier Reef.

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Great Barrier Reef, Pixabay
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Protectionist groups on Tuesday warned that Australia’s use of drumlines under the country’s Shark Control Programme in the Great Barrier Reef is killing endangered shark species.

Humane Society International and the Australian Marine Conservation Society released a series of photographs and videos of two endangered scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini) found dead on a line near Magnetic Island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Efe news reported.

“Lethal drumlines are an old and ineffective method of bather protection. They catch and kill hundreds of non-target marine animals in the Great Barrier Reef,” Nicola Beynon, head of campaigns at Humane Society International, said in a statement.

The Great Barrier Reef, Sharks
Agincourt Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

“Lethal drumlines provide nothing more than a completely false sense of security, at the expense of the lives of threatened species that are crucial to our Great Barrier Reef ecosystem,” she added.

Tooni Mahto, a campaign manager at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said these “same ineffective, lethal methods” have been used by successive Queensland governments since the 1960s.

She called “for a change in our views of sharks and a change in policy to reflect that.”

According to Shark Control Programme statistics, 10,480 sharks – many of them innocuous – have been caught on lethal drumlines since 2001 in the Great Barrier Reef, declared a World Heritage area.

The Great Barrier Reef, Sharks
Lethal drumlines are an old and ineffective method of bather protection. They catch and kill hundreds of non-target marine animals in the Great Barrier Reef. Flickr

It has also killed a significant numbers of rays, turtles, fish and dolphins.

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“Humane Society International is currently engaged in legal action against the QLD Government and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for shark culling on lethal drumlines within the World Heritage-listed reef,” the statement said.

There are 173 drumlines that operate within the Great Barrier Reef, although the Queensland government has removed seven of the 26 species of shark from its target list since the legal challenge was launched. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)