Yet another whale is caught in shark nets – the Premier must rule out use of drumlines
Humane Society International (HSI) again condemns the use of shark nets in NSW waters with news that a humpback whale calf was trapped in the ropes of a shark net on the Central Coast. The entanglement of the whale at Norah Head has occurred today while Wyong Council is hosting its own Shark Summit to discuss recommendations for managing sharks on the Central Coast with shark experts and marine scientists.
“The fact that we are seeing another endangered marine species trapped in shark meshing while Government officials discuss methods for reducing already very rare shark incidences, shows that we are waiting too long to remove harmful shark nets from NSW,” said Jessica Morris, Program Officer at Humane Society International. “Nets are indiscriminate killers, and every year they result in the deaths of a range of important marine species, including harmless grey nurse and hammerhead sharks, turtles, whales and dolphins.”
This incident shows how important it is for non-lethal technology to be used in place of shark meshing and HSI welcomed the announcement from the NSW Government that non-lethal technology such as aerial patrols, sonar buoys and refined procedures for shark observation and incident response would be implemented as part of the NSW Shark Management Strategy. However, HSI would like the NSW Government to confirm that smart drumlines will not be implemented in NSW. These drumlines have the potential to kill non-target species, and like shark nets cause extreme stress to marine populations while offering little protection for ocean-users.
“The NSW Shark Meshing Program is recognised as a Key Threatening Process (KTP) under NSW legislation for the very reason that it kills a vast number of protected marine species. There was a humpback whale calf killed in nets in the 2013/2014 meshing season, and two were captured in the year before. In the 2012/2013 meshing season 6 grey nurse sharks were captured and killed, and at least four have been killed since September last year. This may seem like a small number but the east coast population of grey nurse is down to about 1000 individuals and mortality of any grey nurse individual is highly concerning,” Ms Morris said.
“HSI again urges the Government to continue to focus on non-lethal alternatives that are known to not cause mortality of our marine wildlife, and to unequivocally rule out the future use of drumlines,” Ms Morris concluded.