Calling for the removal of shark nets members of north coast marine conservation groups converged on the Roxy Pro and the Quiksilver Pro Surfing competitions at Coolangatta last Saturday. Holding up banners asking for the removal of Shark Nets on the beach they highlighted the plight of the many marine animals that are caught in the nets each year.
‘Many surfers are concerned both about being safe while surfing and also wanting to live in harmony with other marine creatures,’ said Co-ordinator of the protest, Dean Jefferys, from the Migaloo 2 marine conservation Foundation. ‘Snapper Rocks is flanked by a string of shark nets that have killed hundreds of marine creatures since their placement. We want to raise the issue about the effectiveness and the impact of the current shark net program on other sea users and offer more effective and non lethal alternatives to find a solution.
‘Since 1950 there have been over 16,500 marine creatures killed in these shark nets in NSW and QLD, over 5000 of them endangered or critical endangered.’
‘Shark nets do not offer the safety from sharks they profess as sharks can simply swim around the nets. Cheaper and more effective alternative technologies currently exist that make the public safer without increasing the dangers to other marine life. They include, the Spotters Program, Personal repellents, Sonar, Shark tagging, Education and the use of drones for spotting. I am a drone operator currently working with Shark Watch around the Byron region. It is a non lethal example of an effective, real time, community based solution that could be expanded along Australia’s east coast.’