Sea Shepherd Australia is disappointed that the NSW Government has ignored advice from a independent review into non-lethal options to mitigate shark encounters in the state.
The disappointment comes after Premier Mike Baird, announced that smart drum lines would be used in northern New South Wales as a result of increased shark activity in the area over the past 12 months. The smart drum lines would also not be subjected to an environmental impact assessment.
Natalie Banks, National Shark Campaign Coordinator for Sea Shepherd Australia has advised that a scientific review outlined concerns with smart drum lines, which found that they had not been independently assessed in terms of their effectiveness to catch white, tiger or bull sharks.
“We acknowledge the progress that the NSW Government has made in terms of shark management however smart drum lines which have been used in Le Reunion, France have not been independently tested regarding their effectiveness or their impacts on a range of marine life within Australian waters,” Ms Banks said.
“Additionally, the review highlighted concerns of how to manage larger sharks and whether these sharks will need to be killed or towed out to sea.”
With so many people concerned about the use of drum lines in Western Australia, prior to the implementation of them in January 2014, Sea Shepherd is surprised that the New South Wales Government has gone down this avenue.
“It appears to me that we continue to repeat the same mistakes from the past in terms of shark management in Australia, instead of looking to programs that have scientifically proven to work in other jurisdictions,” Ms Banks said.
“Shark Spotters which has been in place within Cape Town, South Africa for nearly eleven years, has been scientifically proven to work, after spotting over 1,700 sharks which are mainly White Sharks, and having only one fatality during a low-visibility day.”
Shark Spotters was also the only program that the scientific review by Cardno recommended as a initiative that could be implemented immediately.
“Why the New South Wales Government has ignored a review that they commissioned, is beyond me,” Ms Banks said.
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