Why shark nets don’t protect people and harm marine life


of shark interactions in Sydney’s metro region since 2000 occurred at beaches with shark nets. Scientist Dr Gibbs has studied shark mitigation technologies in NSW and said that “shark netting is outdated technology. It is time to move on.”


of marine life caught by shark nets since September 2012 were not the target of NSW’s shark management program – including dolphins, turtles, rays and sharks. Sadly, 55% of these creatures were threatened or protected species.

Shark nets don't protect ocean users

A leading scientist has stated that it is ‘highly plausible’ that if lethal technologies like shark nets are removed tomorrow, we would see no discernible change in unprovoked shark bites.

To improve ocean safety, let’s deploy more modern shark mitigation measures already being used in New South Wales – like drones, beach patrol by our lifesavers, and shark listening stations. These are the shark mitigation measures that New South Wales coastal communities want more of.

These modern measures are more effective at protecting ocean users without harming marine life. 

Source Neil Gardose

What does an effective shark management program look like?

An effective shark management program includes a combination of each of the following measures. All of these measures are already being used in New South Wales.


What are shark nets?

Shark nets are not barriers to the open sea. In New South Wales they only reach halfway to the ocean surface and stretch merely 150m in length. These devices, installed at beaches spanning hundreds of metres, are essentially flapping pieces of fishing gear.

Source: Sea Shepherd Australia

Shark nets are installed at 51 beaches between Newcastle and Wollongong from September – April every year. The nets are removed between May – August to allow for the migration of whales. We believe that since shark nets don’t provide effective protection for people, they should be permanently removed to allow all marine life to pass through NSW waters unimpeded.

We are already swimming with sharks at netted beaches

40% of sharks are caught on the beach side of the nets.

This is because sharks are readily able to swim around and over shark nets and into the beach.

Source Wendy Wei

Are shark nets cruel to marine life?

Yes. When marine life are caught in shark nets, they are often unable to escape.  They often drown in their own home after spending hours exhausting themselves trying to break free.

Source Sea Shepherd Australia