Tiger shark caught on a drumline. Photo: Sea ShepherdTiger shark caught on a drumline. Photo: Sea ShepherdSea Shepherd Australia is calling on the New South Wales Government for greater transparency regarding the use of smart drum lines, stating that the public has a right to know what is being caught and when.

The smart drum lines, which have been implemented in Ballina and Coffs Harbour have been utilised without any transparency on catch data and response times to release animals caught on the hook.

National Shark Campaign Coordinator, Natalie Banks is concerned that early reports regarding the smart drum lines have highlighted an issue with “communications technology” and has asked the Department of Primary Industries whether an animal has been caught on the hook for longer than the required two hour response time.

“There remains many unanswered questions regarding the smart drum line trials including whether they will be removed during bad weather, at nght time or when crew are unavailable and where reports of caught marine life will be made available to the public,” Natalie said.

“This trial is taking place as a result of taxpayers funding it, and therefore the outcomes should be clearly transparent.”

Sea Shepherd is very critical of the fact that there has been a complete lack of publicised information regarding the smart drum line trial, including who is monitoring the smart drum lines and the lack of trigger points. The marine conservation organisation would like to see the trial completely reviewed and the use of smart drum lines stopped if a shark dies on the hook and if a species other than a shark is hooked.

“One of the biggest statements missing from the smart drum line trial currently is what the New South Wales Government would deem as a success,” Natalie said.

“The NSW Government has not clearly stated what it is wanting to achieve by utilising smart drum lines, whether it be greater research, increased public safety or a mixture of both.”

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