9 March 2017
Greens MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith, today expressed disappointment at the continuing unnecessary deaths of marine life in shark mesh nets off Ballina and Evans Head.
A loggerhead turtle at Lennox Head was among 16 dead individual marine animals killed in the nets being trialled by the Department of Primary Industries. The Department’s monthly report revealed 34 individuals across 7 species were caught in the nets, 16 of which died, including one loggerhead turtle at Lennox Head and 2 hammerhead sharks. No target shark species were caught.
“It is so disappointing to see the mesh nets continue to kill marine life. We are half way through the six month trial and there have been no significant catches of the shark species that the nets are supposedly designed to catch. Instead other harmless marine life is suffering,” said Ms Smith.
So far shark mesh nets off Ballina and Evans Head beaches have claimed four turtles - one other loggerhead turtle and two green turtles were listed as dead in the previous monthly reports. Two dolphins have also died in the nets since the trial began in December 2016. The majority of species that die in the nets are different types of rays.
“I call on the NSW government to commit to shark spotting by community groups such as Shark Watch in order to give greater protection and warning to swimmers and surfers. Shark nets don’t give any warnings and we can see that this outdated technology is not effective at catching the shark species that they are put there for,” said Ms Smith.
“Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair has been reported praising the benefits of drone technology for Northern NSW beaches, so why has he still not funded a group like Shark Watch, which uses drones as part of its shark spotting program?”
“I call on the DPI and the State government to continue with other non-lethal shark mitigation technologies instead of these nets, which kill more non-target animals than sharks and which give swimmers and surfers a false sense of security,” said Ms Smith
Everyone who loves the marine life in our oceans is invited to sign the petition to stop the shark nets at: http://www.tamarasmith.com.au/stop_shark_nets