DPI Shark Net Survey – Urgent - Your chance to have your say in defence of human lives, precious marine life and future generations

Operation Apex Harmony Update: Commentary by Chris Lindgren – National Shark Campaign Coordinator

Two rare Japanese devilrays found in the Miami Beach nets in February this year demonstrate the indiscriminate nature of the shark nets.Two rare Japanese devilrays found in the Miami Beach nets in February this year demonstrate the indiscriminate nature of the shark nets.Shark Nets are scheduled to be deployed in early December 2016 on the Northern NSW Coast, despite evidence these “mitigation” methods do not work and despite there being proven, non-lethal, technologies available to further reduce the already very low risk of shark encounter on our beaches.

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has called for comment from the community regarding the deployment of these nets despite their very own survey and FAQ providing enough facts as to why the nets should not be deployed in the first place!

The Survey itself explains that they do not provide any public safety; they only provide a false sense of security, which will result in further harm to beach goers and cause harm to marine life such as Dolphins, Turtles and Rays.

The frequently asked questions on the DPI’s own website, provide additional evidence that netting is not a solution in Northern NSW by stating that the resident Dolphin population will be at risk and that the area is far more ecologically diverse and with more abundant life than that in southern NSW which will result in even higher bycatch numbers.

This very survey being provided by DPI states;

“Shark nets do not create an enclosed area, or provide a barrier between people and sharks!”

This statement alone is reason enough not to proceed with implementing a costly netting program, which is proven not to reduce unwanted shark encounters with beach goers.

The DPI survey further states that;

“In an attempt to minimise harm to other marine life, shark nets are fitted with whale alarms and dolphin pingers.”

These very two statements by the DPI must be cause for alarm to beach goers this summer, not only do these nets not provide an enclosed area or barrier for people; they increase the risk of marine life being captured in them. Not to mention the fact that the QLD nets have pingers and almost a dozen humpbacks were entangled this year already, which puts de-entanglement human lives at risk as well.

The DPI’s FAQ on Shark nets provides additional information condemning the nets regarding the safety of the resident dolphin population in the area;

“Nets will be fitted with the most sophisticated dolphin pingers available. However, even with the best available technology and regular checking, the nature of mesh nets means that some dolphins may be caught and killed.”

Damming the nets further is their statement on bycatch in nets, which mentions that over 145 non-target marine life were entangled in the southern NSW nets (which are only in part of the year) in the 14/15 Summer and that this statistic would vary in Northern NSW as it is more ecologically diverse with more abundance of life.

“The Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program 2014-15 Annual Performance Report Indicates there were a total of 189 entanglements of marine animals on 51 nets during the 2014-15 meshing season, comprised of 44 with target sharks, and 145 with non-target marine life. It is important to note, however, that the number of non-target species caught in the nets can vary considerably year to year and the Far North Coast waters are more biologically diverse than those of the temperate waters further south with more abundant marine life.” 

There have been 16 unwanted shark encounters at beaches with drum lines or shark nets in Queensland and 44 in New South Wales, 19 of these have occurred in the last 10 years alone. 

For those wishing to come along to the next big anti nets rally, please see the attached flyer:

  • 27th November - Central Coast Rally - The Entrance Beach, The Entrance NSW - 11am
  • 4th December - Sydney Rally - Manly Beach, Manly, NSW - 1:30pm.

Shark Rallies

In the 21st Century where proven, non lethal, shark mitigation is available to the public and Government for use, it is criminal to allow shark netting to be deployed on our beaches.

Please take the time to complete the DPI survey provided on their website and voice your and the communities outrage at this trial program.

You have until Sunday 6th November at 5pm AEST, so please don’t delay.

The Survey can be found here: https://surveymonkey.com/r/net-trial

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