Nearly 90% of marine animals caught in shark nets off New South Wales seashores over the previous yr had been non-target species akin to turtles, rays and dolphins, in response to new information revealed by the state authorities.
Marine conservation teams say launch of the annual information comes at a essential time because the Minns authorities weighs up whether or not to proceed with the deterrence technique.
The brand new figures present that of the 228 animals ensnared at NSW seashores through the 2022-23 season, simply 24 had been goal sharks (18 white sharks and 6 tiger sharks), whereas the remaining 204 animals had been non-target species.
Greater than half (63%) of all animals caught died because of the entanglement.
The 204 non-target species comprised 120 smaller sharks, 58 rays, 14 turtles, 10 mammals (eight dolphins and two seals) and two finfish.
The animals included 16 critically endangered gray nurse sharks, two of which had been killed, and two frequent dolphins and 6 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, that are classed as a protected species below nationwide environmental legal guidelines. Not one of the dolphins caught survived.
Fifty-nine of the animals (26%) caught had been species categorized as both threatened or protected marine animals below Australian legal guidelines.
However the Humane Society Worldwide (HSI) stated this determine grew to 162 (71%) when classifications below the Conference on Worldwide Commerce in Endangered Species (CITES), the Conference on Migratory Species and the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had been additionally factored in.
“This information is just not saying something new – it’s saying the identical factor it’s been saying for the previous 10 years,” the marine biologist and HSI campaigner Lawrence Chlebeck stated.
“[The NSW government] ought to recognise this program is outdated and has an annual price for our treasured marine wildlife.”
He stated the federal government ought to “ditch the nets” and depend on strategies it had invested in, akin to good drumlines, training and drone surveillance.
Dr Leonardo Guida, a shark scientist on the Australian Marine Conservation Society, stated communities needed modern-day “seashore security requirements that enhance security for individuals and wildlife alike – options like drones and the tagging and monitoring of animals”.
“Public sentiment and the science are in alignment – come September, the NSW authorities ought to preserve the nets out and the drones up,” he stated.
Nets, that are put in between September and April annually, are on account of be in place once more at 51 seashores between Newcastle and Wollongong in lower than 5 weeks.
In its response to the 2021-22 annual report on the meshing program, the NSW threatened species scientific committee, which advises the federal government on threatened wildlife, stated the “constant annual report of non-target species being caught in nets is of serious concern”.
The committee stated this system was not assembly its two aims – to scale back the chance to individuals from shark bites and to make sure the meshing program didn’t jeopardise the survival or conservation standing of threatened wildlife. The committee supported a change in administration technique.
The federal government has stated it won’t decide on whether or not the nets might be rolled out till it hears from eight coastal councils.
Waverley, which is dwelling to a few of Sydney’s most well-known seashores together with Bondi and Bronte, is one in every of 4 councils that informed Guardian Australia it will advocate for an alternative choice to the shark meshing program.
Remark has been sought from the agriculture minister, Tara Moriarty.