The Nature Conservation Council of NSW has called for shark nets to be removed from NSW beaches after the death of a critically endangered grey nurse shark in a net off Sydney’s Bondi Beach (9 December 2010)
Fear about sharks should not drive the continued netting of NSW beaches when nets only offer a false sense of security, according to Chief Executive Officer Pepe Clarke.
“Sharks can easily swim over or around nets, and many sharks caught in nets are found between the net and the beach itself,” he said.
“Shark nets provide little protection for swimmers but they are death traps indiscriminately catching any marine animals that happen to swim by, including endangered species.
“Dolphins, turtles and harmless shark species, including the critically endangered grey nurse shark, are also caught and killed. There is only a relatively small population of grey nurse sharks left off the east coast of Australia and beach meshing is a key threat to their survival.
“We need a sensible debate around the benefits and costs of shark nets. With more than 16,000 marine creatures caught in shark nets off NSW beaches since 1950, the cost is extremely high, while any tangible benefits negligible.
“Retaining the shark net program is a decision based on politics, rather than science. We are paying a high environmental price for the perceived safety of beach users,” Mr Clarke said.