Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Rare sharks caught by 'ineffective nets'

The Sydney Aquarium Conservation Fund has called for the removal of shark nets from New South Wales beaches, saying there are more effective ways to protect swimmers.

The fund's senior aquarist, Colin Henrisson, says the nets are largely ineffective and do little to protect beachgoers, but take a heavy toll on marine life.

"Dolphins, dugongs, turtles. We also get stingrays, we also get rare and endangered sharks being caught up," he said.

"We've had occasions whereby we've had our rare and endangered grey nurse shark get caught up, and we can ill afford to lose any."

Mr Henrisson says there are a range of alternatives that could offer swimmers protection while also preserving the safety of marine life.

"Possibly look at having aerial sightings instead, aerial patrols of beaches. Possibly developing a type of net which has a piece of equipment on there which gives out an impulse and deters certain types of marine animals," he said.

He also says if netting remains the preferred option that non-entangling nets could be used.

There have been sustained calls for the removal of NSW shark nets from a range of conservation groups in recent years, but the State Government has previously responded by saying that shark attack fatalities have been greatly reduced since the nets were put in place in the late 1930s.


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