The NSW Government has today tripled funding for modern non lethal strategies to manage the risk of shark bite, but has not brought an end to shark nets as local councils called for.
Humane Society International welcomes the $21.4 million investment for drone surveillance, non-lethal SMART drumlines, shark tagging and listening stations. Whereas shark nets are death traps for wildlife, completely unnecessary and should be pulled from the program.
This year six local councils called for the shark nets on their beaches to be removed (Newcastle, Central Coast, Northern Beaches Waverley, Randwick and Wollongong).
Lawrence Chlebeck, marine biologist with Humane Society International said, "While we welcome a substantial investment in modern technology for managing the risk of shark bite, we are left wondering why the outdated shark nets are still part of the program.”
"Shark nets provide nothing more than a false sense of security. There have been 34 shark bites on NSW netted beaches and they entangle and kill hundreds of harmless dolphins, turtles, rays and sharks”, Mr Chlebeck continued.
"One turtle is caught in the shark nets every twenty days and no Sydney-sider wants that for a false sense of security. It's why Sydney's councils have called for the shark nets to be pulled out.”
The 51 shark nets on beaches from Newcastle to Wollongong caught 375 animals last year, killing 231 (62%).Of the total catch, only 40 animals (11%) were the species targeted by the program - tiger, white, and bull sharks.
"We are pleased that this increased investment will build public confidence in more targeted and effective non-lethal solutions. Shark nets only ever provided a false sense of security so the community can be confident that their removal will not make a difference to public safety. The Government is funding measures like drone surveillance that can keep the public safer. It's time to pull out the shark nets for good,” concluded Mr Chlebeck.
Despite this significant progress in the use of new, non-lethal technologies, there has been no change to the state's destructive and ineffective Shark Meshing Program (shark nets).
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