Shark nets catch other crea­tures

The Northern Star - - NEWS -

SINCE Novem­ber 23 last year, 49 marine an­i­mals have been found dead in North Coast shark nets – one of them a tar­geted bull shark, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est DPI fig­ures.

Over­all, 131 non-tar­geted an­i­mals have been caught in the five nets lin­ing North­ern Rivers beaches dur­ing the sec­ond North Coast shark net trial.

Dur­ing March, nets were checked 14 times from the 28 days they were de­ployed.

A to­tal of 22 marine an­i­mals were caught in the nets – 10 of which were found dead, in­clud­ing a whitespot­ted ea­gle ray, gui­tarfish, four com­mon black­tip sharks, a spin­ner shark and three great ham­mer­heads.

Since the sec­ond trial be­gan, DPI has recorded an over­all sur­vival rate of 63%.

Ear­lier this month, the death of a rare leatherback tur­tle found on a North Coast beach with se­vere net-in­duced in­juries, prompted calls for marine con­ser­va­tion­ists and res­cue groups to work to­gether with shark net con­trac­tors.

A spokesman for Sea Shep­herd called for the DPI’s ex­ist­ing rou­tine to be changed when re­leas­ing tur­tles from nets, ask­ing for the tag­ging of ev­ery tur­tle.

Con­trac­tors and trained DPI ob­servers are re­quired to check the nets once ev­ery 1248 hours, de­pend­ing on weather con­di­tions.

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