Scientists are clear: shark nets don't reduce shark bites

Just off the New South Wales’ coastline, marine life silently suffer in the grips of shark nets. 

Scientific research tells us shark nets are ineffective at reducing the risks of shark bites. Despite this, indiscriminate shark nets remain in the water and harm countless marine animals, including turtles, rays, and dolphins.

Source Mother Ocean Free Diving

It's time to rely on scientifically backed technology

The New South Wales Government has heavily invested in modern scientifically backed shark management measures. These measures keep people safe and don’t harm marine life. It’s time to rely on these measures and remove outdated shark nets. 

In partnership with Sea Shepherd Australia, we are striving to say nets no more in 2024.  


Source Neil Gardoses

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.

Drone surveillance

SharkSmart app for alerts

Shark listening stations

Community education

Rapid response vessels

Beach patrol

Why don’t shark nets reduce shark bite risks?

Scientist Dr Gibbs has studied shark mitigation technologies in NSW and says “shark netting is outdated technology. It is time to move on.”

Dr McPhee, a leading researcher, gave evidence in a critical Tribunal case. He said it was “highly plausible” that if lethal technologies like shark nets are removed tomorrow, we would see no discernible change in unprovoked shark bites, including fatalities. 

The NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee said expanding modern measures would better reduce the risk of a shark bite occurring and ensure the shark management program does not jeopardise the survival or conservation status of threatened species.

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.

Shark nets indiscriminately catch marine life

Between September 2012 - April 2022, New South Wales' shark nets caught 11.5 times more non target marine life than the sharks that are targeted by the shark management program.


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


of marine life caught by shark nets were the bull, tiger and white sharks the shark management program is targeting.

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

You are more likely to be killed by a farm animal than a shark

The National Coronial Information System reported that across Australia, horses and cows killed more people than sharks did between 2001 - 2017.