First shark nets to be installed tomorrow
The first of five sharks net in Northern NSW is to be put in the water tomorrow, Friday 18th November, Humane Society International (HSI) has learnt, following both the passing of new legislation to the NSW Parliament to fast track a trial of shark mesh nets and the Federal Government’s exemption of the trial from Federal environmental legislation on Wednesday.
“The introduction of shark nets in Northern NSW is a very disappointing outcome,” said HSI’s Senior Program Manager, Alexia Wellbelove. “HSI has been very supportive of the NSW Government’s efforts to trial non-lethal alternatives as part of their shark management strategy and we continue to strongly believe that the introduction of nets is a retrograde step in efforts to better protect ocean users from the small risk of coming into contact with sharks.”
HSI has contacted the NSW Government with its concerns over proposals to expand the use of shark nets in Northern NSW. HSI has long urged both the NSW and Queensland Governments (and more recently the WA Government) to replace its lethal shark control methods with non-lethal alternatives appropriate for the conditions in each location.
“The proposed five beaches due to have nets put in place as part of the trial are regularly visited by dolphins and other marine life. We fear that these and many other animals will be caught and killed in the nets. As part of this trial the NSW Government must ensure that all captures from the trial are made public and that the trial be discontinued immediately if dolphins or other marine animals common in the area are caught in the nets,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.
Shark nets are intended to target only a limited number of shark species, however they also trap and kill whales, dolphins, dugongs, turtles and many other harmless animals. HSI considers the nets to be an outdated and ineffective method of protection from the very low, albeit tragic, risk of a shark bite.
New South Wales law has recognised shark netting as a ‘key threatening process’ since 2003, following a scientific submission to Government by HSI.