NSW Greens Spokesperson on Marine Environment and Fisheries and Member for Ballina Tamara Smith has welcomed the Government's announcement of $16 million for shark research, surveillance, public awareness and trials of non-lethal deterrent technologies.
“The Government has recognised that killing sharks with more nets is not the answer. The focus on surveillance, education, research and trials of non-lethal deterrents is the right one and I'm glad to see the North Coast will be the focus of some of the technology trials,” Ms Smith said.
"The Government's approach recognises the need to protect our marine life, including sharks, but to ensure the public have the best information to reduce the risk of shark encounters. No technology can completely eliminate the risk of a shark bite, but this response will make a significant difference while recognising the important role of sharks in a healthy marine environment.
"In the face of hysterical reporting from some media outlets, the community has made clear its opposition to killing sharks. The Government has listened to the community in developing this response and that is to be commended.
"My hope is that as these new technologies mature the Government starts to phase out the existing netting program in NSW which continues to kill dozens of sharks, dolphins, turtles and stingrays each year.
"I am concerned about reports that 'smart' drum-line technology may be considered in the trials. ‘Smart' drum-lines can't be considered a non-lethal technology and I will be seeking a clarification from the Minister on this issue.
"I look forward to continuing to work with the Ballina Shark Mitigation Working Group to ensure the roll out of trials and other programs on the North Coast deliver the best outcomes for the protection of our marine life and the safety of the public in my electorate," Ms Smith said.