The NSW Greens have today welcomed the early end to the second North Coast Shark Net Trial after concerns about the risk of entanglement of whales making an early migration along the NSW coast. Government data shows the shark nets trialled across the NSW North Coast have been ineffective, catching and killing vastly greater numbers harmless marine animals than target sharks.
Between 23 November 2017 and 31 March 2018:
· Only one target bull shark out of a total 132 marine creatures were caught in the net.
· Threatened species including the Green Turtle and nine Great Hammerhead sharks were killed in the nets.
· Twenty-three rays caught and killed in the nets, including reports that rays were left to die in nets despite community reports of their capture.
The Greens call on the NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair to permanently abandon the shark net program on the NSW North Coast and across Sydney's beaches and redirect those resources into more effective, non-lethal technologies.
Member for Ballina Tamara Smith said, “There is no scientific evidence and little community support for putting shark nets back in the waters off the North Coast.
“The data from the North Coast Shark Net Trial is yet more evidence that the shark netting program in NSW does little to keep people safe in the water but takes a terrible toll on local marine life.
“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,” she said.
Marine spokesperson Justin Field said, “A recent Senate report found people are 100 times more likely to drown at the beach than to be killed by a shark in Australia. The risk is infinitesimally small and the resources should be directed to where the real risks are.
“The millions currently going into the shark net program should be directed to observation towers and drone technology for our lifeguards, and improving whole of beach and personal deterrent devices,” he said.