Following the declaration last week by a NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) official that contractors would not attend shark nets at Ballina to release an entangled ray, Sea Shepherd Australia and Humane Society International claim the department could be in breach of its own management plans.
Sea Shepherd Australia’s spokesperson Allyson Jennings said the group had ‘sought preliminary legal advice’ which indicated that NSW DPI ‘may have breached their management and fauna disentanglement plans one or more times’.
‘This is unacceptable behaviour by the NSW Government who clearly cannot be trusted to administer its own plans and follow the legislation,’ she said.
Ms Jennings added the group would ‘be seeking to take the matter further’.
Jessica Morris, a marine scientist with Humane Society International, said the latest data showed ‘harmless sharks, rays and turtles are being needlessly killed, and now the news [is] that DPI may be contravening their management plans, and could be in breach of NSW legislation.’
‘We think it’s time our government recognises the trial as the huge failure it is.
‘Shark attacks are not the norm – they are traumatic but they are rare, and we need to realise that nets are doing more harm than good. We cannot afford to lose any more of these animals due to a fear and falsehood about sharks,’ Ms Morris said.
Sea Shepherd has suggested that leaving any live animal to die in the shark nets ‘creates an increased risk of human-shark interactions as passing marine predators such as sharks will seek the animal as a free meal’.
‘It is time the NSW Government stops providing the communities of northern NSW a false sense of security. There are non-lethal options available to be implemented right now at these beaches. Ocean users deserve better protection than this farcical trial and our marine life does not deserve to die.’ Ms Jennings said.