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10 January 2006 - Safety measures are needed to protect swimmers and sharks      


Sydney, 10 January 2006                        

Humane Society International (HSI) joins the call for funding for aerial shark patrols over Sydney beaches as a safety measure that protects both swimmers and sharks.

“Aerial patrols are a better safety measure than the current shark nets on ocean beaches which kill thousands of harmless marine animals every year, including some nearing extinction such as the grey nurse shark”, said Ms Beynon.

Sharks are important for the health of marine ecosystems and are coming under intense pressure from human impact.

“The solution to minimising the very small risk of shark attacks on Australian beaches must not be to kill more sharks”, said Nicola Beynon HSI’s Wildlife and Habitats Program Manager.

HSI estimates that around the world we are killing thousands of sharks every day, whereas shark attacks on humans, while awful when they occur, continue to be extremely rare.

Several shark species are now considered threatened with extinction and scientists are expressing grave concerns about the consequences of their decline.

The Scientific Committee that advises the NSW Government on threatened species matters has officially declared Sydney’s shark control nets a “Key Threatening Process” to marine wildlife.

“The shark control nets in New South Wales and Queensland were established earlier last century and do not fit with today’s more sensible attitudes towards the environment, but politicians have been very reluctant to remove them”, said Ms Beynon.

HSI strongly urges all Australian states examining their bather protection programs to be progressive and invest in more sophisticated measures that are not lethal to sharks.

Humane Society International expresses sincere sympathy to the family of Sarah Whiley. 

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