Second shark net trial disaster for marine life

MEDIA RELEASE

23 November 2017

The start of a second North Coast Shark Net Trial marks the beginning of six months where dozens or even hundreds of harmless marine creatures are likely to be caught or killed, with no proven additional safety for swimmers and other beachgoers, say Greens MPs Tamara Smith and Justin Field.

The NSW Government is pushing ahead with the outdated technology despite results from last Summer's six-month trial in the same region showing: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; and
  •          SMART drumlines deployed in the same area caught more target sharks, with far fewer sharks deaths and almost no by catch.

Since the trial, Senate Estimates testimony has shown a decrease in community support for the shark net trial.

The Greens call on the NSW Government to heed the evidence and abandon ineffective and outdated shark nets and instead support non-lethal deterrent measures.

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."

Greens MP and Marine Spokesperson Justin Field said the NSW Government was letting fear, News Limited and shock jocks drive shark management in the state.

"The NSW government's shark net trial and program is more about spin than an effective shark deterrent measure - which they are not - and gives the community a false sense of security," he said.

"The Greens have supported targeted trials of SMART drumlines for scientific purposes and the trials on the North Coast have been promising with important data on shark behaviours being collected and very low by-catch and mortality rates of caught sharks.

"North Coast locals are already shark aware and overwhelmingly reject the idea of shark nets and unnecessarily harming marine animals. Sadly the NSW Government is continuing to pursue a shark management strategy based on fear," he said.

Full copy of The Green non-lethal approach to shark management here: http://bit.ly/NSWGreensSharkPlan

Volunteer