Data released today by the Department of Primary Industries revealed that last season, shark nets in the Sydney region caught zero bull, tiger and white sharks (target sharks). Instead, in Sydney alone, these indiscriminate nets caught 42 non-target animals, including 4 dolphins and 7 turtles.
Action for Dolphins’s COO Emilia Michael says, “A massive 89% (204) of marine animals caught in NSW’s shark nets last season were non-target species such as dolphins, turtles, rays and other sharks. 100% of all dolphins which were caught struggled and drowned while waiting for a contractor to free them from the nets.”
Sea Shepherd’s Threatened Species Campaigner Lauren Sandeman says, “Shark nets in NSW caught more threatened or protected species than target sharks. Not only does this program have no evidence justifying its continuation, its only purpose is to kill and it’s killing our most vulnerable marine life.”
Sea Shepherd Australia and Action for Dolphins are calling on the NSW Government to permanently remove outdated shark nets on 1 September and continue enhancing the deployment of scientifically supported shark management measures in NSW.
Ms Michael says “We encourage the NSW Minister for Agriculture, Tara Moriarty, to listen to the advice from the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee, NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee, NSW coastal residents and environmental organisations, who are all calling on the NSW Government to permanently replace shark nets with more modern shark management measures.”
Ms Sandeman says, “The science speaks for itself; shark nets are ineffective, outdated and need to go.”
Ms Sandeman says, “We can have safe beaches and not kill our local marine life. It’s time for the NSW Government to rely on scientifically backed shark management measures that ensure public safety. These measures are already being widely used in NSW at beaches with and without these nets – technologies such as drone surveillance, listening stations with shark tagging, personal shark deterrents, and the SharkSmart education program.”
These statistics were revealed in the Annual Performance Report for the NSW shark net program, released by the NSW Department of Primary Industries today.
Other notable statistics from the report include the following:
- 24 target sharks were caught over 8 months across 51 nets
- 41 threatened or protected species were caught over 8 months across 51 nets
- 8 dolphins were caught and killed by NSW’s shark nets this season. This is a 12.5 times increase from last season, where only 1 dolphin was caught.
- Despite making up a third of the target species list, no bull sharks were caught last season throughout the entire program.
- The number of Critically Endangered grey nurse sharks caught (16) nearly equals white sharks caught (18).