Commentary by Allyson Jennings – NSW Apex Harmony Coordinator:
Our Apex Harmony crew have been out on the water documenting the shameful carnage of the Northern NSW shark net trial. Recently, they found two live eagle rays trapped in the Lennox Head and Lighthouse Beach nets. A phone call made to NSW Department of Primary Industries to inform them of the find and request them to release the rays was denied by a NSW DPI official.
Heartbreakingly, our crew had no choice but to leave these two rays given the heavy legal and financial ramifications which would result if the rays were released by our crew.We have since sought legal advice and suggest that NSW DPI could be in breach of their own legislated management and fauna disentanglement plans.
We will be pursuing this matter to ensure that the NSW government is held to account over this.
North Coast NSW communities deserve better non-lethal ocean safety solutions like shark spotting programs, drones, personal protection device subsidies and many others.
Leaving live animals to die in shark nets places ocean users and lifesavers at risk of a potential human-shark interaction as it creates a free feed for any passing marine animals including sharks.After the first trial, public confidence in the nets dropped to 33%. It is wrong that the NSW Government and Ballina Shire Council to allow this to continue in the name of public safety.
Furthermore, the 8 months of data released so far shows the impact the nets are having on non-target species with 329 animals caught. Only 10 were target sharks, the remainder being rays, dolphins, turtles, non-target shark species and more.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
- Please email the NSW Premier, NSW Primary Industries Minister and Ballina Shire Council and let them know that you don’t agree with the nets, that they must be removed immediately, and replaced with better non-lethal ocean safety alternatives: https://seashepherd.good.do/apexharmony/apexharmony/
- Tell your friends, family, work colleagues about this issue and encourage them to send an email too.
- Share this email with everyone in your social media networks to spread the word and encourage others to send and share.
People power won against the 2014 WA Shark Cull and it can again against the NSW North Coast Shark Net Trial. We don’t need to choose marine life over human lives or vice versa - we can choose both.
Sea Shepherd Apex Harmony – NSW Coordinator
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