Shark nets and culls are not the answer
Proposals to expand NSW’s Shark Meshing Program to beaches in northern NSW or to have commercial shark fishing in the area are not the answer to protecting people in the marine environment, Humane Society International (HSI) has today explained.
“Shark nets have significant impacts on the marine environment, killing not only target sharks but countless other whales, dolphins, dugongs, turtles, rays and other harmless marine animals” said HSI’s Senior Program Manager Alexia Wellbelove. “At the same time, nets are not a failsafe means of protecting ocean users. We therefore completely oppose calls to expand NSW’s nets beyond the current 51 beaches and instead call on the NSW Government to continue to consider all other non-lethal options.”
HSI is also concerned by calls to have a commercial shark fishery in the Ballina area in response to recent shark bite incidents.
“It is widely known and understood that shark bites are often tragic but rare events. Simply killing more sharks and removing them from the marine environment does not make it any safer to swim or surf in the ocean” said Ms Wellbelove.
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.
“HSI hopes that at today’s meeting in Ballina the local community will continue to oppose the installation of shark nets and drumlines and ridiculous suggestions of commercial shark fishing, and instead encourage the urgent trial of more appropriate non-lethal alternatives with the support of the NSW Government” concluded Ms Wellbelove.
New South Wales law has recognised shark netting as a ‘key threatening process’ since 2003, following a scientific submission to Government by HSI. HSI also notes that any expansion of the NSW Shark Meshing Program to new areas or the establishment of drumlines as a new shark control measure in NSW would require approval under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.