Media reports of a baby whale caught in shark nets off Noosa demonstrates the urgent need for removing nets off the NSW coast to protect whales, dolphin, turtles and other marine life, according to Greens MP and Marine Spokesperson Justin Field.

The mother whale has been desperately trying to free the distressed calf from the net and lifeguards will attempt a rescue of the baby if conditions permit, reports suggest.

The recently released Annual Performance Report of the Shark Meshing Program showed 373 marine animals, including turtles and dolphins, were caught in sharks nets between Newcastle and Wollongong with 211 killed.

“The community has been warning Minister Niall Blair about the risk of shark nets during whale migration and now we’ve got a baby whale fighting for its life in the net off Noosa,” Mr Field said today.

“Only in July, a whale entangled in shark nets on Gold Coast died despite rescue attempts. We hope there’s a better outcome today but the fact remains that shark nets are a big risk to marine life.

“Shark nets are a political fix, not an effective way of managing the interaction between people and sharks. Shark nets may make ocean goers feel better but the evidence shows they are no barrier to sharks but they do kill hundreds of marine animals every year.

“Most of the animals killed in nets were non-dangerous animals including dolphins, turtles and rays and many were caught between the beach and the nets.

“Shark nets are an out-dated technology that provides a false sense of security and takes an unacceptable toll on marine life. The NSW Government should remove all shark nets from our beaches for good and focus on non-lethal shark management technologies,” he said.