Activists, Greens point out ‘failures’ of shark net trail
FRIDAY 10.45am: ANIMAL activists and a Greens MP say the third monthly report of the North Coast Shark Net Trial highlights the failure of the initiative with no target sharks species reported caught in the past month.
NSW Greens MP Justin Field said the report does identify "large numbers of precious marine life caught and killed" and exposes the shark nets trial fails to catch sharks and the nets should be raised and removed immediately.
"The data exposes the North Coast Shark Net Trial for what it is, a sham stunt that has failed to catch one single target shark this past month," Mr Field said.
"These nets are catching and killing precious marine animals like dolphins, turtles and rays, including threatened species such as the Loggerhead Turtle and Hammerhead.
"We've had three months worth of data and nothing suggests shark nets are an effective response to community concerns about their safety in the water."
The No Shark Cull Facebook page was cynical in their response, saying they should change their name to 'No Marine Life Cull' after tallying a the total number of animals netted over the three month trial.
"In just 90 days, the northern NSW shark nets have captured 149 marine animals, of which only five were targeted species," the organisation said in a post.
"That is to say, the shark nets are capturing non-targeted species in northern New South Wales 96% of the time."
Sea Shepherd's Apex Harmony campaign coordinator, Jonathan Clark wrote in a comment on Facebook that the number of marine life impacted with the nets coupled with the lack of target species caught should be enough to scrap the controversial net installation on the North Coast.
"These numbers should be able to kill this trial dead... right now," Mr Clark said.
THURSDAY 5.15pm: A STEEP decline in bycatch deaths has been reported by the Department of Primary Industries in its latest report regarding the shark net trials.
The nets were deployed at five Ballina Shire beaches on 24-15 days between February 8 to March 7, and each were checked 20-33 times.
In recent days the nets have been removed from the water due to wild weather conditions.
In the report, the DPI stated turbulent weather preventing safe access may reduce the ability of contractors to check the nets twice daily.
The report revealed the meshing netted 34 individual animals across seven species in the past month.
Of that number, 53% were released alive and 47% were found dead and had tissue samples retained for analyses.
No target shark species were caught, however, two hammer head sharks were found, one was dead as well as a blacktip shark.
The other hammerhead shark was released alive.
The report is the third released as part of the NSW North Coast Meshing Trial.