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Sea Shepherd Applauds the NSW Government for Smart Approach to Shark Mitigation

Thursday, Jul 02, 2020

New South Wales is leading the way with drone surveillance programs extended to cover 34 NSW beaches in the state's new Shark Management Strategy. The drones will survey beaches and detect sharks in the area, which then alerts officials to prompt swimmers to exit the water.

On the 1st of July 2020, the Minister for Agriculture and Western New South Wales, Adam Marshall announced $8 million for shark mitigation initiatives in NSW for the next 12 months.

These initiatives will include:

- Drone surveillance led by Surf Life Saving NSW at 34 beaches (the largest drone surveillance program in Australia’s history)

- 35 SMART drumlines between Lennox Head and Evans Head

- 21 real-time shark listening stations

- Community education including the SharkSmart website and app

- Shark Meshing Program between Newcastle and Wollongong

“Sea Shepherd would like to applaud the NSW Government for showing true leadership in working towards non-lethal shark mitigation that can actually save lives. To stand with science, the community and previous Government enquiry findings is standing on the right side of history for our oceans.”

-Sea Shepherd Australia's Managing Director Jeff Hansen
Photo: Hoarau Galice

Sea Shepherd has worked with the Western Australia Labor Government, and other key stakeholders as part of the SMART drumline reference group, and has been impressed by the WA Government's healthy approach to shark mitigation; listening to science and not media hysteria. It seems that the NSW Liberal Government can now also be applauded for stepping further into the 21st century.

Although Sea Shepherd acknowledges the great commitment being made by the NSW Government, there is still work to be done to seeing an end to the shark meshing program. Even the NSW Government website acknowledges that the public would prefer non-lethal shark mitigation and that nets are not barriers and have unacceptable lethal bycatch numbers to marine life including rays, turtles, whales and other marine life. 

"Sea Shepherd gives credit where credit is due and at least the NSW Government is removing the shark meshing nets during the whale migration season as shark nets put whale lives and the lives of the de-entanglement teams at risk. If the Queensland Government were to follow suit and remove the nets during the whale migration, we would also applaud them for doing the right thing by our whales, our oceans and future generations."

- Jeff Hansen

While New South Wales is moving forward with non-lethal solutions to shark bite mitigation, the Queensland government continues to endanger Australia's iconic marine wildlife with its outdated Shark Control Program. 

Four whales have already become entangled in Queensland shark nets this year. As the whale migration season has just started, more entanglements are expected in the coming months.

Contact the Queensland Fisheries Minister Mark Furner and ask for the urgent removal of these nets during the whale migration today. 

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