SEA Shepherd Australia yesterday slammed New South Wales Premier Mike Baird’s decision to approve shark mesh nets to protect surfers and swimmers at Ballina on the state’s north coast.
Apex Harmony’s Queensland Coordinator Jonathan Clark believes that by installing the nets along the coastline upwards of 80 per cent of catch will be by-catch which will include dolphins from the Richmond River pod.
“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,” Jonathan said.
“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.
“McKell 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,” Johnathan added.
Nets in Queensland have 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 Queensland this year with over 10 reported entanglements.
Sea Shepherd believes that there will also be more to come which also puts rescuers lives at risk as they try to disentangle whales from shark nets.
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,” Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director Jeff Hansen said.
Story Source: Sea Shepherd Australia