Smart drumlines a more effective shark deterrent than nets: new NSW Nth Coast data

An analysis of the Department of Primary Industry’s data on both the SMART drumline and shark net trials shows smart drumlines are the best choice of deterrent for target sharks on the NSW North Coast.

The DPI data shows 29 target sharks  have been caught by SMART drumlines on the North Coast between December 2016 and May 2017. All but one target sharks caught by SMART drumlines were released alive.

In stark contrast, the shark net trial in the same area has caught 6 target sharks, with three of those sharks killed by the nets.  In the past month alone, 11 non-target sharks have been caught and killed.

The shark nets also killed a record number of 127 marine creatures between December 2016 and May 2017, including an endangered Green turtle, rays and dolphins.

NSW Greens MP and Marine Environment spokesperson Justin Field called on the NSW Government to take an evidence-based approach to shark management and choose SMART drumlines over nets on NSW beaches.

“The evidence is in – shark nets are little more than floating death traps for all marine life while SMART drumlines appear to be an effective means of catching target sharks,” Mr Field said.

“Sharks caught on SMART drumlines are tagged and contribute to our understanding of shark behaviours and almost all have been removed from the inshore zone and released alive.

“The results make a compelling case for the Government to end the shark net trial early. This is the first time SMART drumlines have been trialled in NSW but the results suggest they could continue to play a role in a non-lethal approach to shark management in NSW.

“Everyone wants to ensure people are kept as safe as possible while keeping our marine environment healthy by minimising the toll on sharks and other marine animals.

”SMART drumlines could play an ongoing role when supported by other non-lethal shark management techniques including community observer programs such as Shark Watch, better resourcing lifeguards and personal deterrent devices,” he said.


Latest Nth Coast Shark Net Trial results available here:

Greens analysis of DPI figures for North Coast SMART drumline and shark net trials here.

Full copy of The Green non-lethal approach to shark management here:

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