Dolphin, turtle and rays killed by north coast shark nets

Opponents had warned that local dolphins would be at risk if shark nets were installed on north coast beaches. It seems they were right.(supplied)

Opponents had warned that local dolphins would be at risk if shark nets were installed on north coast beaches. It seems they were right.(supplied)

A Bottlenose Dolphin and a Green Sea Turtle were among 12 animals killed by newly installed shark nets along the north coast in the first month of their operation.

Of the 43 animals caught in the nets, just one white shark and a bull shark were caught, with the bull shark among 12 animals that died.

The net at Lennox Head killed a Australian Cownose Ray, a Longtail Tuna, two Hammerhead Sharks and a Bottlenose Dolphin.

No deaths were recorded at Sharpes and Shelley beaches in Ballina, although Lighthouse Beach accounted for two dead Hammerhead sharks, an Australian Cownose Ray and a Bull Shark.

At Evans Head the net killed two Australian Cownose Rays and a Green Turtle.

The North Coast Shark Net Trial report covers the period 8 December 2016 to 7 January 2017.

A Green Sea Turtle was killed by the shark nets.

A Green Sea Turtle was killed by the shark nets. (file pic)

Greens MLC Justin Field said the north coast trial had ‘failed to capture many target sharks and is having a disproportionate impact on harmless marine animals just like the wider NSW plan is having’.

‘People would be shocked to know that one of the dolphins or turtle they have enjoyed watching playing in the waves or cruising the local beach over the Christmas break has ended up dead in one of the shark nets,’ Mr Field said.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) put a different spin on the results, pointing out that 72 per cent of the marine animals were successfully released.

Four sharks from targeted species (White Shark, two Tiger Sharks and one Bull Shark) were caught in the nets. Three of these sharks were tagged, released and relocated alive in deeper waters,’ the DPI said in a media release.

NSW DPI Director General, Scott Hansen, said DPI was committed to doing all it could to ensure captured animals were released as soon as possible.

‘These nets have provided greater peace of mind to the community particularly during the school holidays,’ Mr Hansen said.

Meanwhile, the state-wide 2015/2016 state wide shark meshing program tripped trigger points for the number of Common Dolphins and Hawksbill Turtles killed by the nets which will force a review of the program.

The state-wide results showed that shark mesh nets at 51 beaches between Wollongong and Newcastle caught 748 marine animals and killed 364 of them in the 2015/2016 year. There was a dramatic four-fold increase in the number of animals caught and 300 per cent increase in marine animals found dead in the nets.

Mr. Field said the results showed the program was not effective.

‘At the same time the Government was planning to roll out new shark mesh nets on the North Coast where dolphins and turtle are prevalent, they were sitting on data that showed the existing nets with dolphin deterrent devices weren’t working effectively,’ he said.

‘It’s time we phased out this culling program and replaced it with non-lethal solutions.

‘The shark mesh net program provides questionable protection to NSW swimmers and divers but costs a fortune in terms of destruction to our wildlife and dollars spent.

‘There are non-lethal alternatives to shark mesh nets including community observer programs, better resources for lifeguards, smart drum lines and personal deterrent devices.

‘We should be phasing out these destructive nets and modernising swimmer protection at NSW beaches. ‘




5 responses to “Dolphin, turtle and rays killed by north coast shark nets”

  1. Aniko says:

    Get a grip folks. I have snorkelled and swum regularly up and down our coast line, including Julian Rocks, for many many years. Seen sharks. If I am in their space and a shark decides to nibble or eat me- so be it. There is more chance of me getting killed in a car accident on the way to one of our beautiful beaches, or electrocuted during a lighting storm. Why kill the very animal that make our ocean the wonder that it is- in the off chance that a shark may be caught in a net- and that net doesn’t blockade a beach: it just catches marine wildlife that doesn’t hurt us and kills them. To the ” humans are more important”- then stop driving your cars as that will surely stop the deaths and injuries on our roads; also, just stop being scared of the things that are unlikely to harm you. Find the brains and courage to be scared on the things: such as the destruction of our oceans and our climate which shall kill every human on this planet.

  2. Christopher Tipton says:

    School holidays nearly over. And no one eaten mauled or killed from sharks. Shark nets must stay.. Greenies back up your tree house.

  3. Esther says:

    The ocean is their playground – not ours….. I’m deeply disturbed and saddened that we’ve killed even more of these beautiful creatures.

  4. jodi says:

    a very sad day when we humans can justify killing dolphins and turtles.
    we have depleted the oceans enough.. and the reason why sharks come looking for food

  5. Sophie Meneguzzi says:

    Shark Net installers : One would think that you’d have learned from the 364 marine animals that died in the
    Sh/Net trials between Wollongong and Newcastle, 2015/ 2016, that the trial was a FAILURE. Expensive both in resources, labour and the loss of our beloved Turtles, Dolphins and other marine animals.
    There are other ways to keep Surfersand Swimmers safe.

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