HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL SAYS IT’S TIME TO DITCH NSW SHARK NETS
4th July 2017
NSW Fisheries Minister Niall Blair has announced an additional 50 SMART drumlines will be deployed in NSW taking the total to 85. The Minister states that SMART drumlines are the future of shark mitigation, as early trials indicate they are more effective than mesh nets in minimising the impact on marine species.
Humane Society International asks, will this mean the archaic and ecologically damaging mesh nets will finally be removed from NSW beaches?
“Shark nets kill marine animals indiscriminately, ensnaring everything that swims into their mesh. The Government’s ill-fated trial of shark nets in northern NSW showed that the death toll of harmless and threatened species far outweighed the capture of target sharks. The Minister has admitted this,” says Humane Society International’s Australian Head of Campaigns, Nicola Beynon. “143 harmless marine animals were killed and 4 target sharks were captured in the trial.”
“Surely the next logical step is to remove the archaic indiscriminate nets from all NSW beaches. These death traps have been strung along beaches from Wollongong to Newcastle since the 1930s when our appreciation of the importance of marine life was very different,” said Ms Beynon.
“We now know how important sharks are to healthy marine ecosystems and that they are under severe pressure with many species on the threatened species list, including the targeted great white shark which is listed as vulnerable to extinction,” added Ms Beynon.
SMART drumlines are intended to be non-lethal to sharks. However, Humane Society International says the jury is still out on whether this ends up being the case.
“Humane Society International is yet to be convinced of the long term welfare and survival of sharks tagged after being caught on the SMART drumlines,” said Ms Beynon.
SMART drumlines in the trial on the NSW North Coast are known to have killed two great white sharks and the longer term survival rate for many tagged sharks is unknown. There are also concerns about the post–release mortality of non-target species such as hammerheads, which are not being tagged in the trials and who have a high risk of death after being caught on a fishing line or drumline. Hammerheads are currently being considered for Endangered listing by the Federal Government.
“Humane Society International would welcome a move away from lethal shark control methods. But the impact of SMART drumlines should not be added to the extensive ecological damage and animal suffering already caused by the nets,”concluded Ms Beynon.