Shark nets kill 24 non-tar­get ma­rine an­i­mals in 37 days

The Daily Examiner - - NEWS ENVIRONMENT - Jas­mine Burke news­room@dai­lyex­am­iner.com.au

THE NSW Greens are call­ing for an early end to the North Coast Shark Net Trial fol­low­ing the re­lease of DPI data re­veal­ing by-catch num­bers for the first 37 days.

Dur­ing the first five weeks of the sec­ond NSW North Coast shark mesh­ing trial (pe­riod end­ing De­cem­ber 31, 2017), 53 non-tar­get ma­rine crea­tures were caught and 24 of them died.

One tar­get an­i­mal – a bull shark – was caught and re­leased alive dur­ing this time.

By-catch in­cluded 16 rays, a hawks­bill turtle, a green turtle and eight non-tar­geted sharks.

Dur­ing De­cem­ber 2017, nets were de­ployed for 31 fish­ing days at five beaches and each checked 18 to 20 times.

Greens MP and ma­rine spokes­woman Justin Field urged the NSW Gov­ern­ment to heed the ev­i­dence of the first re­lease of data from this trial and haul up the shark nets for good – on the North Coast and beyond.

“This re­port is yet more ev­i­dence that the shark-net­ting pro­gram in NSW does lit­tle to keep peo­ple safe in the wa­ter but takes a ter­ri­ble toll on lo­cal ma­rine life,” he said.

“The Greens are call­ing on the NSW Pri­mary In­dus­tries Min­is­ter Niall Blair to aban­don the shark net pro­gram on the NSW North Coast and across Syd­ney’s beaches and to re­di­rect those re­sources into more ef­fec­tive, non-lethal tech­nolo­gies,” he added.

“A re­cent Se­nate re­port found peo­ple are 100 times more likely to drown at the beach than to be killed by a shark in Aus­tralia.”

Greens MP for Bal­lina, Ta­mara Smith, said the money could be bet­ter spent else­where.

“The mil­lions cur­rently go­ing into the shark net pro­gram should be di­rected to ob­ser­va­tion tow­ers for our life­guards, and im­prov­ing whole-of-beach and per­sonal de­ter­rent de­vices,” she said.

PHOTO: SEA SHEP­HERD

DEATH NETS: A dead ea­gle ray found en­tan­gled in the shark nets on March 5, 2017, by Sea Shep­herd.

PHOTO: SEA SHEP­HERD

Sea Shep­herd found an en­dan­gered fe­male log­ger­head turtle in the shark nets off Bal­lina.

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