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Byron Shire
October 25, 2021

Sea Shepherd saves loggerhead turtle from Ballina shark net

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The loggerhead turtle found caught in a shark net off Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach yesterday (December 18) before it was rescued. Photo Sea Shepherd

The quick actions of Sea Shepherd monitors and a nearby SMART drumline contractor averted the otherwise certain death of an endangered loggerhead turtle that became entangled in shark nets off Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach yesterday (Monday, December 18).

Yesterday the the Apex Harmony crew were out documenting off Lighthouse Beach when they spotted the turtle entangled in the net.

Queensland coordinator Jonathan Clark contacted NSW DPI immediately however the SMART drum line contractor who was in the vicinity came over to the net and assisted in freeing the turtle from the entangled mess.

NSW Apex Harmony coordinator Allyson Jennings said ‘Once again, the nets have indiscriminately claimed an endangered Loggerhead turtle and had our crew not been there for this animal, it would have most certainly died by drowning.

‘Is this what we want people around the world to see? That we kill marine life to provide a false sense of security for ocean users? It is peak breeding season for this species and every individual counts,’ she said.

Mr Clark added, ‘Our crews have found seven non target animals in the nets in six runs within a week. These discoveries and the data from the first trial are solid proof that these nets are nothing but a failure in terms of safety for ocean users and are killing marine life unnecessarily.’

‘It is time Ballina Mayor David Wright and the NSW Government woke up and started accepting the findings from the federal senate inquiry report, that these nets are ineffective for ocean safety and are tarnishing our image as a nature-loving country locally and internationally’ said Ms Jennings.


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  1. While these turtles were getting tangled up yesterday, I took my drone for a test fly to try out spotting for sharks and live streaming the image seen from the drone direct to my FB site, as a way to get rid of shark nets. The test worked well apart from having to adjust the maximum distance so I can utilise the full 5 Km range. While flying and streaming live over Brunswick Heads river mouth, I was getting comments that I should straight away head to Byron where someone had said a white pointer shark had been seen. So I packed up the drone, raced to byron and asked the Surf lifesavers on duty if they had seen the shark or had a drone in the air to look for it. I discovered they don’t have a drone and everyone swimming on the beach was oblivious to the recent sighting. Now Im not trying to make people paranoid about sharks because they are there all the time, thats where they live, in the ocean, yet if the public or better put, the government wants to avoid an unwanted shark encounter then it is just so bleeding obvious (sorry about that) that every surf club should have a drone with a remote alarm and shark recognition software and they should be streaming what the drone sees live to a website or there SLS clubs site. All this and more shark safe info could be made available on an app that people can see signs for it as they walk to the beach and download it. They would see what the drone is seeing live. SLS clubs have heaps of keen members and could do regular cheap aerial patrols.This would be a much more effective and efficient way for the gov to spend its money, rather than waisting it on monitoring and removing dead marine creatures daily from shark nets that don’t work. Im getting ready to launch an international social media campaign with a coalition of marine groups that encourages people not to swim at shark netted beaches and instead swim at safer beaches patrolled by drones and where they don’t kill the marine life. We have to get these drones in the air asap and get rid of the shark nets, just like the Senate committee recommended yet the Gov has refused to implement this.

  2. Do you remember when the only wildlife killed after a shark attack was a few sharks?

    SS and others had a fit so the government was forced to take a different approach.

    So what you have now is totally different, but killing sharks and other marine life I think is much worse. Thank You SS for forcing the Aus government to kill marine life per your request.

    You should also properly describe the status. Loggerhead turtles are not endangered they were in 1996 now they a Vulnerable in 2017.

    We know your org seaks publicity to get donations so what are you going to force the government to do next year?


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