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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Report into metropolitan shark net program shows extent of marine life ‘culling’

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Shark nets should be ‘hauled up for good’ following the release of results from the government’s metropolitan net program, the NSW Greens say.

Data from the program’s annual report shows that 403 marine creatures including dolphins, rays and endangered turtles were caught or killed by shark nets deployed along the NSW coast from Wollongong to Newcastle during 2017/2018.

The report also showed that 295 (0r 55 per cent) of the marine animals caught were killed in the nets and that there were a total of 34 target sharks and 369 non-target animals caught.

‘We now have ample evidence that the shark netting program in NSW is really a culling program and primarily it is culling rays, turtles, and non-threatening sharks,’ Greens Marine Spokesperson Justin Field said.

‘I’m calling on NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair to abandon the shark net program on the NSW North Coast and across Sydney’s beaches and to redirect those resources into more effective, non-lethal technologies, including the targeted use of SMART drumlines.’

‘The next season of the shark meshing program off Sydney beaches is due to start in September, the NSW Government should leave the nets out of the water and engage with the community to put in place an alternative plan now.’

Ms Field said recent results from the NSW North Coast revealed smart drumlines snared eight times more ‘target sharks’ than nets between November and May in a trial at five north coast beaches with virtually no by-catch compared to shark nets.

‘But ultimately, the best long-term solution is to move away entirely from lethal options like shark nets to community based observers programs, better resourcing volunteer and professional life guarding services, drone surveillance technology and community awareness of the importance of healthy shark populations and how to avoid shark risks.’

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  1. And so it continues, the perennial argument about saving sharks at the expense of human safety. Sorry, to me any attempt that protects swimmers from sharks is good, I don’t care how many turtles or non-aggressive varieties turn up in the nets. If they stop one swimmer from losing an arm, leg or his life, I support the method.


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