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Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Shark nets continue to kill harmless marine life

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One of two rays found caught in shark nets off Ballina beaches. Photo Sea Shepherd

Only one of 56 animals caught in shark nets along the north coast was a target shark species, according to new data.

Humane Society International marine scientist Jessica Morris said the data proved the nets do not work and continue to kill harmless and threatened marine life.

‘Figures from January and February show out of 56 caught animals 15 were killed, including dolphins, rays, and hammerhead sharks – which are harmless to humans. Only one of the animals captured was a target shark species,’ Ms Morris said.

Last season’s shark net trial on the North Coast caught 9 target sharks making up only 3 per cent of the total catch, with the remaining 97 per cent comprising harmless marine animals, including a critically endangered grey nurse shark, four dolphins and 11 threatened marine turtles.

The NSW North Coast net exemption allows shark net trials to continue until 31 October 2019, despite the shocking marine animal death statistics and negative community feedback after the first trial concluded last year.

‘How many more months of damning data will it take for government to finally realise this experiment is an utter failure, and shut it down?’

‘Non-lethal alternatives to nets are available and we cannot afford to keep killing harmless and protected species for the next 18 months or more.’.

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  1. Absolutely disgusting that nets are still in use. While staying at Kirra last year I watched a whales swim close to the waves so obviously if they can get in, so can sharks. Humans need to get over themselves and leave nature to do it’s thing.

  2. Absolutely appalled by the lack of action by the local governments to stop this despite community outcry. We feel completely voiceless when it comes to these issues that matter. Embarrassed to call Ballina home

    • This is the human centered view. We are the most important species. All other species may be able to fit in with our needs but they are just not really on the agenda. The fact that our numbers are now in plague proportions and we continue to make a massive environment footprint, and we have caused mass extinctions is probably rarely thought about. The notion that all things are related is not acknowledged – probably.

    • Jon my man, humans don’t need to be in the ocean, we can swim in a pool. Sharks on the other hand actually live in the ocean, they have no where else to go. By your logic every animal species is expendable because humans are MORE important. To swim in the ocean is a privilege and not a right. Humans enter the ocean at own risk. Nets are a waste of time and effort. Marine creatures, including sharks, can swim around and under nets. More sharks snagged on the ‘beachside’ of nets than on the ‘open ocean side’ of nets. That alone tells you the failure that nets are.

  3. Do the sums, that is less than half an animal dying , per net, per week over 2 months. Recreational fishing will kill more than that. The DPI are doing an amazing job of continuing to reduce the by-catch and keep people safe. Prior to the meshing program, negative shark encounters were the norm along this stretch of coast> and since, people have seen sharks, but I have not heard of one person being chased, stalked, bumped, bitten or killed, all of this which happening with astonishing regularity prior to the meshing program.
    Jessica Morris says they don’t protect people, but the statistics tell otherwise. Since meshing was introduced in 1936, there has been a single recorded fatality at a beach with meshing installed. That is a very big coincidence.

  4. Jon Whoeveryouare?
    A bit worrying Jon that you seem to think that the killing of harmless humans by sharks is more important than a few species of fish! Mmm! Interesting perspective indeed!

  5. This is a tired old argument when I would suggest most readers and commenters here are most likely not Vegan! In other words, if you eat fish you are responsible for 5 x that amount in Bi Kill- 60 to 70 million Sharks are killed each year by the Fisheries free license supported by you guys eating your fish and chips- Jumping up and down in a small-minded parochial manner -arguing against against the insanity of collateral damage is a good thing as long as you are Vegan otherwise that would make you a myopic hypocrite!


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