A Sea Shepherd crew was questioned by police yesterday following allegations they removed the baits from smart drum lines at Ballina and Byron Bay.
The crew members working on the Apex Harmony shark campaign were questioned by police following accusations from NSW Fisheries officers.
National Shark Campaign coordinator Natalie Banks, who was in contact with the crew as the questioning took place, said the accusation was completely false and that Sea Shepherd has had a long history of bringing transparency to programs that affect marine life.
‘Our role in Western Australia when the shark cull was occurring was to monitor and document the impact of the drum lines, our role in Queensland has been to monitor and document the impact of the Shark Control Program and our role in New South Wales is again to monitor and document the impact of the smart drum lines,’ Ms Banks said.
‘To falsely accuse our crew of de-baiting the smart drum line hooks is not only an intimidation technique, but is almost satirical when you consider that the crew onboard our RHIB today consisted of a respected marine scientist, a shark bite survivor and a school teacher.’
Sea Shepherd will continue to monitor the smart drum lines in the coming months.
The smart drum lines are part of a NSW Government strategy to prevent further shark encounters along north coast beaches.
The lines use GPS buoys to send alerts when sharks have been hooked, so they can be tagged and released away from the shoreline.
Their introduction follows two fatal attacks and three maulings since September last year.
An eco-barrier is expected to be installed at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach early in the new year.
Sea Shepherd also raised concerns this week that the location of the smart drum lines was being kept a secret, creating a potential hazard for local boaties.