RECKLESS DECISION BY MINISTER FRYDENBERG WILL SEE TWO MORE YEARS OF LETHAL SHARK NET TRIALS
November 9, 2017
Today’s decision by Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to grant a second exemption to the NSW Government for its lethal shark net trial on the north coast is reckless and will cause the deaths of more endangered marine life, says Humane Society International.
Minister Frydenberg today gave a two year exemption to the NSW Government to conduct further shark net trials between 1 November 2017 and 31 October 2019, despite the shocking marine animal death statistics and negative community feedback after the first trial concluded in May this year.
“Minister Frydenberg doesn’t need to do another trial of the nets. A primary school student could tell him that they are an ecological disaster,” said Jessica Morris, Humane Society International’s Marine Scientist.
Last season’s shark net trial on the North Coast caught 9 target sharks making up only 3% of the total catch, with the remaining 97% comprising harmless marine animals, including a critically endangered grey nurse shark killed, four dolphins killed and the ensnaring of 11 threatened turtles.
“This year’s NSW North Coast Shark Net Trial was an utter failure, so the Minister’s reasoning for granting another, longer exemption is tenuous at best, and completely contradicts his responsibility as Federal Environment Minister to ensure our endangered species are protected,” continued Ms Morris. “When is a trial no longer a trial and recognised for what it is – a complete failure and just a means to subvert the law.”
The NSW Department of Primary Industries also released figures that only 33% of locals from Ballina and Lennox Head had a positive view of the trial in telephone surveys, and only 8% of people living outside the area viewed the trial as positive, after it wrapped up earlier this year. Far greater support was expressed for non-lethal bather protection measures.
Minister Frydenberg is required to provide an exemption for the trial under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Humane Society International is currently seeking legal advice with the NSW Environmental Defenders Office (EDO).