The Greens have welcomed the early withdrawal of shark nets deployed during the NSW North Coast Net Trial and called for alternative, non-lethal shark management for increased safety of people and marine life.
Shark nets will be removed from the North Coast this week, two weeks ahead of schedule, as migratory whales have made an early appearance in local waters and risk becoming entangled in nets. The shark nets caught and/or killed 244 marine creatures during the course of the trial, including rays and endangered turtles.
SMART drumlines deployed in the same area have caught more target sharks between December 2016 and May 2017, with far fewer sharks deaths and almost no by catch of other marine animals.
NSW Greens MP and Marine Environment spokesperson Justin Field has urged the NSW Government to heed the evidence of both trials and haul up the shark nets for good – on the North Coast and beyond.
“Shark nets may make ocean goers feel better but the evidence shows they are not effective against target sharks and don’t make swimmers or surfers significantly safer,” he said.
“The shark net trial on the North Coast has failed and they should be removed for good. There is no reason to assume they are any more useful elsewhere along the rest of the NSW coast where there are 51 nets in place over summer months. The entire NSW shark meshing program should be reviewed in light of the North Coast findings.
“The trial makes a compelling case for the Government to remove shark nets permanently from North Coast beaches. In contrast, the SMART drumlines trial results suggest this alternative could continue to play a role in a non-lethal approach to shark management on the North Coast and along the NSW coast.
“Minister Niall Blair can now have the confidence to move beyond the ‘panic’ and begin phasing out shark nets across NSW. There’s an opportunity to redirect the $1 million spent each year on the shark net program to more effective, proven and non-lethal measures such as SMART drumlines and local Shark Watch programs.
“He has the prime opportunity to become the Minister who delivered smart, science-based solutions to shark management in NSW, not fear-based superstition,” he said.
Full copy of The Green non-lethal approach to shark management here: http://bit.ly/NSWGreensSharkPlan