Shark nets imperil endangered marine life
New data shows NSW shark nets are putting endangered marine life in peril.
"NSW DPI has just released their 2015/2016 shark meshing stats and the number of harmless marine species killed in a matter of months is disturbing, particularly when so many are threatened with extinction," says Humane Society International's Head of Campaigns, Nicola Beynon.
"Five harmless grey nurse sharks were killed and this is a critically endangered species with a likely population of only 1000 individuals. This is a shocking blow to the population, something which cannot continue if we want to see this species survive in the long-term.
"Eleven green turtles and 5 hawksbill turtles were killed, both threatened species.This is a concern when the federal marine turtle recovery plan states deaths of green turtles in shark control programs must be significantly reduced.
"The deaths of the hawksbill turtles and of 14 dolphins have triggered a review report by DPI. A review must conclude the nets endanger marine life and are outdated. Only strategies non lethal to marine wildlife should be used to protect swimmers and surfers.
"There is no evidence that suggests that shark populations are increasing, and this is especially true of white sharks. The 2015 NSW Shark Summit focused on the lack of evidence of any kind of surge in white shark numbers, and latest research puts this threatened species at between 750-1200 individuals on the entire east coast. These sharks are important top order predators which are essential in maintaining ecosystem function, and 21 were killed last year.
"The latest report from DPI shows the new nets around Ballina have resulted in even more deaths of turtles and dolphins and non-target hammerhead sharks.
"HSI is asking supporters to write to the Premier to remove the nets as a matter of urgency and deploy non lethal bather protection strategies,” concluded Ms Beynon.
HSI has commissioned lawyers to find ways to challenge the nets for killing so many protected endangered species.