Shark nets in New South Wales have caught 325 non-target animals in the last year, including a load of critters from endangered species. Haven’t the turtles been through enough?
The state’s Department of Primary Industries (DPI) released its yearly report about shark nets, which are put in place eight months of the year. They stretch along the NSW coast from Wollongong to Newcastle.
According to the report, 376 animals were caught by shark nets — but a massive 325 of those animals weren’t the targeted sharks (which include bull sharks, white sharks and tiger sharks). Now I’m no mathematician, but those do not seem like great stats.
The worst impacted animals were non-targeted shark species, including greynurse, hammerhead, whaler and mako sharks.
There were also 130 rays and 40 turtles caught, as well as a humpback whale.
In news that has left 12-year-old me genuinely distraught, a dolphin also died after it was caught in the net. In fact, 62 per cent of the animals that interacted with the nets died. And of the 376 animal interactions with shark nets, 86 were threatened or protected species.
There’s been persistent calls from animal rights activists for governments across Aus to invest in alternatives to shark nets.
In early July, three whales were caught by shark nets in Queensland in the space of a week. Two of those whales were caught by the same bloody net in the space of just 72 hours.
Please! They just want to sing their underwater songs in peace!
Activist group Sea Shepherd Australia released a statement in the wake of the DPI’s report.
The org’s managing director Jeff Hansen described shark nets as “1930’s solutions”.
“Australia has a global responsibility to protect vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species,” he said.
“And here we have the NSW Government actively continuing their killing nets off our coasts, targeting all marine life whose path they cross with a cruel, painful and barbaric end.”
Sea Shepherd’s called for tech like drone surveillance to be properly implemented in NSW.
Plus, it pointed out that back in March, Local Government NSW passed a unanimous resolution to call for the government to phase out shark nets.
As per 9News, a spokesperson for Dugald Sanders — the NSW Agriculture Minister — said the government wanted to achieve the “right balance” between protecting vulnerable wildlife and swimmers.
“As part of the 2022-2023 Budget the NSW Government announced $85 million to fund a new range of shark mitigation activities including Smart Drumlines, tagging and listening stations as well as funding for long range drones,” they said.
Currently, NSW and Queensland are the only Aussie states that have shark nets in place. Surely there’s an alternative solution that’ll help swimmers feel safe while letting the beautiful creatures of the sea to vibe in peace?