In response to the news today that NSW Premier Mike Baird will approve shark mesh nets for Ballina NSW, Sea Shepherd Australia had the following response.
"There is no way that the NSW Government can justify calling this a 'trial'. Shark nets are old technology. We know how they work. We know what they will do. Upwards of 80% of the catch will be by-catch and that will include dolphins from the Richmond River pod. We know that shark bite incidents will still occur as they have at netted beaches in Queensland. These nets will merely give surfers a dangerous false sense of security," remarked Jonathan Clark Queensland Coordinator - Apex Harmony Campaign.
"Back in 1946, after over a decade of shark nets off the NSW coast and many unwanted shark encounters at netted beaches, the then Premier of New South Wales, William McKell stated that nets were ‘quite valueless’ in terms of public safety.
He further went onto say, ‘Worse, it would possibly lull the public into a false sense of security, leading to diminished watchfulness and possibly tragedy." This was 70 years ago and scientists continue to echo these sentiments today, to no avail, as politicians with no experience in this area continue to make emotive, knee jerk and illogical decisions to shark mitigation.
The Queensland model has wiped out over 85,000 marine animals, with the majority being non target species such as whales, dolphins, reef sharks, dugongs, turtles and rays and now NSW will be further adding to the annihilation of our precious marine life off our coasts. No longer will we see pods of dolphins swimming freely off the NSW coast, they will be running a gauntlet of dolphin killing meshing devices.
With a humpback population on the rise, so too will be the entanglements of these protected species, just like off QLD this year with over 10 entanglements this year and there will be more to come, which also puts the rescuers lives at risk as they try to disentangle the whales.
Premier Baird needs to listen to the words of former Premier McKell, and drop this insane approach to shark mitigation, as nets are not a barrier, and are merely a false sense of security that wipe out tens of thousands of marine life and put human lives further at risk.
In 2016, with so many modern day smart and innovative shark mitigation systems and products, we no longer have to choose between keeping people safe or protecting our precious marine life, we can do both,” said Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director Jeff Hansen.
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