HSI CALLS FOR END OF NSW NORTH COAST SHARK NET TRIAL AFTER DEADLY RESULTS REVEALED
9th May 2017
Results have today been released for the fifth month of the NSW North Coast Shark Meshing Trial. Another 50 harmless marine animals have died needlessly, prompting Humane Society International (HSI) Australia to call for the end of the lethal program as the whale migration season begins.
The results included the deaths of one critically endangered grey nurse shark, four great hammerhead sharks, 25 pygmy devilrays, six common blacktip sharks and one vulnerable green turtle. These animals are not considered a risk to humans. No target sharks were caught in the nets, however one white shark died in the SMART drum line program in Ballina. Great white sharks are also a threatened species.
“Another month and even more deaths of protected marine life in our oceans. It’s high time the NSW Government realised that culls through shark nets and drum lines don’t make our beaches safer and have nothing but a hazardous impact on the species they are responsible for protecting. It’s time to end the trial in favour of a common sense approach,” said Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns for HSI Australia.
During the fifth month of the NSW North Coast Shark Meshing Trial, nets were deployed for totals of 22–30 days at five beaches. The death toll of marine species now stands at 130 since the trial began in December.
There has also been a growing concern about the impact of the lethal nets on humpback whales that have begun their seasonal migration northward along the east coast of Australia. Shark nets were recently pulled up at beaches in Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong due to the start of the whale migration season, but will remain in place in the North Coast due to the trial’s six-month timespan.
“There are already reports of humpback whales moving northward to warmer waters for the winter season, so before any whales get added to the list of marine deaths, the nets should be removed to allow for their safe passage,” Ms Beynon continued.
Humane Society International recently submitted a scientific nomination for the NSW and Queensland Shark Control Programs to be listed as a Key Threatening Process under the Federal EPBC Act. The impact on the grey nurse shark is a key concern with the critically endangered population unable to sustain unnatural mortality.
“It makes sense for the Federal Environment Minister to refer the nomination to his Threatened Species Scientific Committee as a priority to allow a robust and independent scientific assessment to inform government decision making. A sensible approach to mitigating the risk of shark attack includes investment in aerial surveillance technologies like drones and shark spotting devices, which don’t cause the ecological damage of ineffective culling programs such as nets and drum lines,” Ms Beynon concluded.