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25 November 2015 - Implementation of Smart Drumlines will cost our marine life      


25 November 2015

Humane Society International (HSI) has today expressed regret at the NSW Government’s decision to install smart drumlines at locations on the NSW north coast.  HSI congratulated the Government on their plans for non-lethal technology such as aerial patrols and lifeguard towers in order to detect sharks as these operations have no ill effect on our marine life, however we cannot support the installation of drumlines which are known to cause mortality of marine animals. 

HSI’s resident marine scientist Jessica Morris said today, “Our view is that Smart Drumlines are an unnecessary and lethal addition to the Government’s plans for shark management in NSW. The plan to install these drumlines at places such as Coffs Harbour and Ballina with plans to erect more within NSW later, could result in the deaths of many non-target species such as hammerhead and grey nurse sharks, both of which are protected in NSW. The NSW marine environment has a diverse range of species, which are not only important for the functioning of ecosystems but are relied upon by eco-tourism in areas such as Ballina and Coffs Harbour. Smart drumlines will be a threat to this.

We have already seen from the drumlines placed in WA, Reunion Islands, and Queensland that these devices are not effective in catching white sharks but have a serious impact on our marine ecosystemsDrumlines catch more marine turtles than white sharks in Queensland and marine mammals such as dolphins are also captured.”

Ms Morris concluded, “We are concerned at the lack of care regarding the impact of these drumlines on our marine wildlife.  The reality is that this trial should have an Environmental Impact Assessment and be referred to the Commonwealth before any work is undertaken. We would also like to see in writing the NSW Government’s proposal for the trial including the application of trigger limits to ensure that any mortality of a species such as the critically endangered grey nurse shark results in the termination of the drumlines.”

HSI urges the Government to drop their plans for drumlines and to focus on non-lethal technology such as plans for eco-barriers and aerial surveillance. These options have little or no ecological footprint and are a much more effective way of managing risk for surfers and other ocean-users than smart drumlines.  We therefore see no need for the addition of lethal smart drumlines. HSI is seeking legal advice and is also appealing to Commonwealth Environment Minister Greg Hunt to “call in” the trial under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999.


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