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Protected species in shark nets, NSW data reveals

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 31 Jul 2020

Greens Healthy Oceans spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, comments on data released today revealing high numbers of threatened and protected species killed in New South Wales shark nets.

The Department of Primary Industries report details the latest annual figures for the NSW Shark Meshing Program 2019-20.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “Today’s shocking figures have revealed the high price of a false sense of security for ocean-goers.

“We’re not talking a few turtles here or there, we’re talking about mass drownings of protected species not even being targeted by the nets.

“It’s what we’ve suspected and feared may be happening this past year, and now we have the sad proof.

“This is a damning indictment of a policy that has no evidence base.

“There simply is no evidence to suggest that shark nets reduce the amount of shark bites. 

“With the weakening of environmental laws, and our oceans under pressure from climate change, pollution and overfishing, now is not the time to line our oceans with lethal nets wiping out marine life.

“There are readily available alternatives to shark nets such as drones, that can better balance the protection of ocean-users and the environment.

“The New South Wales Government has shown real leadership in this space recently by removing nets during whale migration.

“Images of whales getting caught and drowning in nets brought the issue to the public’s attention and it was deemed unacceptable.

“In the same way, this new information about what is happening just off our beaches should be a catalyst for change.

“The New South Wales Government needs to modernise its approach to shark mitigation and urgently phase out this barbaric policy.”

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