The NSW Greens are calling for the removal of shark nets on Sydney’s Northern Beaches following the announcement that a trial of SMART drumlines will start between Manly and Palm Beach.
Greens marine environment spokesperson Justin Field said, “Shark nets are a culling device that do little to protect swimmers but indiscriminately kill thousands of marine animals including dolphins, rays, turtles and non-threatening sharks every year.
“The results from the NSW North Coast reveal SMART drumlines caught eight times more ‘target sharks’ than nets in a trial at five north coast beaches with virtually no by-catch compared to shark nets.
“There is no reason to have both nets and SMART drumlines in the water, the SMART drumlines are superior in terms of reduced harm to marine life and have a far better record of catching targeted sharks with less mortality. While there are still concerns with the long-term impact of SMART drumlines on shark mortality, they are clearly less harmful than nets.
“Shark nets are an outdated technology with no place in a modern, evidence-based approach to managing human-shark interactions on our beaches today - it’s long past time they came out of the water” he said.
Currently there are 51 shark nets at beaches between Newcastle and Wollongong.
The annual report of the netting program in 2017/18 found:
- 295 of the marine animals caught (55%) were killed in the nets.
- threatened and protected species caught and/or killed in the nets, included non-threatening Grey Nurse Sharks, Green, Leatherback and Hawksbill Turtles and dolphins.
- there were a total of 34 target sharks and 369 non-target animals caught.
“The 2018/19 summer should be the last year these damaging nets go in the water.
“A SMART drumline program should be matched with better resourcing for lifeguards, including with drone surveillance as well as an education program for beach users about the importance of sharks for healthy oceans and steps to reduce the risk of shark bite.