Face up to the reality of shark nets

Contributed by Tammy Omodei - Sea Shepherd crew member

The inevitable consequences of shark nets and drumlines on the Sunshine Coast and across QLD saw 943 animals caught last year alone, including whales, turtles, rays, dolphins, sharks and others. At least 641 of these animals were found dead or, if they were one of the 19 species of ‘target’ sharks then they were shot and killed by contractors, and tragically this includes endangered and protected species.

Shark nets are not a barrier and do not prevent sharks from entering an area and drumlines are baited hooks. This 60 year old program does not provide safety to swimmers. There has been at least 28 shark bite incidents at beaches where shark nets and/or drumlines are present, including 2 ending in fatalities.

In 2019 a successful court ruling against the QLD state government required the lethal program to be stopped within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park stating the evidence that killing sharks did nothing to reduce the risk of unprovoked shark-human interactions while having a negative impact on the health of the reef.

Technology has come a long way, drones and other methods such as eco shark barriers, personal deterrent devices and more are being successfully trialled and tested. These non-lethal methods paired with a shark awareness and education program can provide safety to beach goers while not harming marine life.

The ocean needs its apex predators and it needs biodiversity. Let’s think global and act local. The Sunshine Coast can lead the way in saying we don’t condone culling marine animals and want to see proven non-lethal technology lead the way. Call on your local MP to act. Find out more and sign the petition at www.envoyfilm.com.au.