STOP Marine Life being Senselessly Killed in Ineffective Shark Nets.
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OUR OBJECTIVE: We urge that the New South Wales (NSW) Government in Australia permanently removes ineffective 'shark nets' from the NSW beaches and replaces them with effective non lethal forms of mitigation which are proven to work based on data which has already gathered.
STOP THE SLAUGHTER: Hundreds of marine animals are being left to die senseless and avoidable deaths. The NSW Government has made a decision to install 'shark netting' which provides a false sense of security to the public in response to fears about interactions with sharks. The nets are monitored and any entanglements of marine life recorded, however not frequently enough. To date 95% of entanglements and deaths have been non target marine life including endangered and protected turtles, manta and mobula rays, eagle rays, dolphins and non targeted shark species. The scheduled checking of nets by contractors is not frequent enough to rescue dying animals caught in the nets. There have also been instances where the authorities have been made fully aware of trapped marine life being found by the public and the authorities have been notified. The authorities clearly refuse to attend and these marine creatures are being left to die. Turtles and dolphins are air breathing mammals and once trapped they are doomed to die in a short time period if not released, which is an agonising and unnecessary death. Due to the laws in place prohibiting rescue by the public, all that can be done is to watch on in disbelief.
THE NETS DON'T WORK: Dead and dying marine life acts as an attractant for sharks which have an acute sense of smell which is a thousand times greater than humans and can detect dead or dying animals from across a significant distance . This ability to sense dying marine life draws in sharks which would normally not frequent the inner coastal region and creates a feeding zone which potentially did not exist before. Besides the attractant aspect, the nets themselves do not act as a deterrent. Most recently there have been three incidents where members of the public have come into close contact with sharks inside the safe zone. In each case there were no injuries however in time this may be different. This is clear evidence that the nets are not effective and should be removed. The fact is there are other mitigation methods available which are currently being tested which have been proven elsewhere. These methods will not result in these unnecessary deaths or increase the risk to ocean users. Despite the carnage and the risks the nets are still being trialled.
PREVIOUS SCIENTIFIC STUDIES: South Africa has trialled shark nets in an area where Great White Sharks are prevalent and they were proven ineffective. These were removed, with other more effective solutions implimented. These other methods have been extremely successful with just one death in eleven years. The NSW Government and the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) have been given this evidence yet they chose to ignore it and trial the same program already proven ineffective.
ALTERNATIVES: The following alternatives are currently being trialled and should continue.
• Ongoing aerial surveillance providing more patrols along the NSW coastline.
• State-of-the-art eco-friendly shark barriers.
• Satellite linked (VR4G) shark listening stations, to provide real-time tracking data of tagged sharks.
• Partnerships with Surf Life Saving NSW and professional lifeguard associations to refine procedures for shark observation and incident response.
• In-water surveillance trials of sonar technology. 'Clever Buoy'™ uses new sonar technology coupled with tailored software to detect shark sized objects.
• Trials of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones).
• Monitoring of emerging promising technology, including the development of electronic shark deterrents, will continue to determine their effectiveness and suitability.
Additionally, money could be well spent on Education programs which highlight the risks of using the ocean where sharks may be present, and what to do to assist in the event of a shark attack. Investing money in equipment which could assist in treating victims of shark attack would also be a consideration.
NETS NOT SUPPORTED: The introduction of the nets has undergone a 6 month trial period which highlighted the unacceptable amount of bycatch. The records show that in the initial one month period, 68 marine animals were trapped with only two being targeted species. Of that total 15 were released alive and 53 found dead. The majority of marine life consisted of rays and endangered shark species, which highlights the lack of suitability. The recently reported shark interactions indicating the nets do not stop sharks has sent warning signals to the DPI that the nets do nothing more than provide a false and dangerous sense of security. This puts ocean users at risk as conditions conducive to increased shark behaviour are ignored due to the flawed belief that the nets will protect them. The Ballina Shire Council, Animal Welfare Groups and the General Public do not unanimously support the use of the nets. Despite this the Government continues to press on with a second extended trial, despite the deaths to marine life and the reports of shark sightings inside the net area. We urge that the nets be removed and that the Government utilises other proven methods to provide a safe environment for all life.
BAN DEADLY, INEFFECTIVE SHARK NETS.
FIND A BETTER SOLUTION.
“Sea Shepherd Australia supports this petition initiative. People power won against the WA Shark Cull and collectively, it can happen again in NSW.”
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