A Ballina Shire councillor has accused the NSW Department of Primary Industries of failing to inspect shark nets for by-catch along the Ballina coastline, despite a commitment to do so.
Cr Jeff Johnson said the latest figures from the department showed that the nets were only inspected on 14 occasions during January, which was nowhere near the commitment of 50 to 60 inspections a month.
Cr Johnson said the DPI ‘simply don’t care about the commitments made when the trial was announced.
‘I have also seen footage of a ray that was entangled in the shark nets with the full knowledge of the DPI yet it wasn’t released,’ he said.
‘The net wasn’t inspected for two days. I’m concerned that having marine life, such as rays or large fish species caught in the nets and not released within a short period of time could act as a shark attraction which would largely defeat the purpose of having the nets installed.
‘During January, 30 animals were caught and 25 released. That means that five animals died. I’m sure that this number could be significantly reduced if the nets were inspected every morning and afternoon. ‘
Cr Johnson has lodged a notice of motion for Thursday’s meeting calling on the council to write to the NSW DPI and appropriate members of parliament asking that the DPI adhere to the commitments they have provided in respect to regular inspections of the North Coast Shark nets.