The Greens have condemned confirmation from NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair at a Senate Estimates hearing today of a new shark net trial on the north coast of NSW.
The NSW Government is pushing ahead with the outdated technology despite results from a six-month trial in the same region showing:
- the shark nets caught and/or killed 244 marine creatures during the course of the trial, including rays and endangered turtles.
- SMART drumlines deployed in the same area have caught more target sharks, with far fewer sharks deaths and almost no by catch; and
- Senate Estimates testimony of a decrease in community support for the shark net trial.
The Greens have called on the NSW Government to heed the evidence and abandon plans for another shark net ‘trial’ – on the North Coast and beyond.
Member for Ballina Tamara Smith said, “The shark net trial on the North Coast was a demonstrated failure and should not be repeated.
“There is no scientific evidence and decreasing community support for putting shark nets back in the water this Summer.
“We all want to ensure people are as safe as possible when enjoying the beach and ocean while minimising the toll on marine life. Shark nets don’t help achieve that balance. The Greens would prefer to see money wasted on the nets used instead on drone and human shark spotting patrols in order to offer better warning and protection to swimmers and surfers.
“The NSW Government has continued to say they’ll take an evidence-based approach to shark management so why push ahead with more nets when they have failed to work?” Ms Smith said.
Marine Environment spokesperson Justin Field said “Shark nets may make ocean goers feel better but the evidence shows they are not effective against target sharks and don’t make swimmers or surfers significantly safer.
“The Minister can already act confidently from the results of the previous trial which made a compelling case for the Government to remove shark nets permanently from North Coast beaches.
“We have already had an expansion of the SMART drumlines off the North Coast and there are other non-lethal technologies available, including expanding community shark observer programs.
“Minister Niall Blair can now have the confidence to move beyond the ‘panic’ and keep shark nets out of the water,” he said.
Full copy of The Green non-lethal approach to shark management here: http://bit.ly/NSWGreensSharkPlan