Shark summit calls for an end to shark nets and drum lines

“The Greens would seek to end federal government exemptions for lethal shark mitigation measures and use the COAG Meeting of Environment Ministers to push for state governments to end lethal measures that are within their jurisdictions,” he said.

A dead dusky whaler shark entangled in nets off Seven Mile Beach in Lennox Head last December.

A dead dusky whaler shark entangled in nets off Seven Mile Beach in Lennox Head last December.Credit:Sea Shepherd

The findings of the 18 month-long Senate inquiry were supported by Federal Labor and the cross bench, the Greens Senator said but not the Liberal Party.

“It’s a war on sharks, they are getting caught in the culture wars as well as the nets,” the Senator said.

The shark conservation summit, organised by the Humane Society International (HSI) and the Australian Marine Conservation Society, gathered academics, scientists and public servants involved in marine conservation and companies investing in non-lethal technologies that help reduce the risk of shark encounters.


All of these companies are based in Western Australia. Lindsay Lyon,representing Ocean Guardians, which invented the wearable shark shield, said NSW should look to the Western Australian government which introduced a $200 rebate for ocean goers to wear shark deterrent technology.

“The McGowan Labor government made this an election issue in 2016, offering a $200 rebate to surfers and ocean goers who use approved shark deterrent technology,” Mr Lyon said. In Western Australia, there has been on average one shark fatality per year in the past 15 years he said.

Fremantle-based company Smart Marine Systems, has taken its Clever Buoy sonor technology to California’s Newport Beach, because it has had more interest from the United States for trials than in Australia.

Ms Nicola Beynon, the head of campaigns for the Humane Society which organised the summit, said it had been campaigning against the use of nets and drum lines in shark control since 1998.

“Sharks get a bad wrap in this country,” she said.

“There are more than 300 types of sharks and rays in Australia but a number of their populations are declining and we are looking for legal protection for them.

“Very few sharks pose a real risk to humans – more than 100 million sharks a year are killed by humans, in comparison, the number of human fatalities per year is really small,” she said.

Helen Pitt is a journalist at the The Sydney Morning Herald.

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