Shark nets to go, SMART drumlines to stay
UPDATE 12.30pm - Australia Seabird Rescue call for immediate net removal
Australian Seabird Rescue general manager, Kathrina Southwell said Minister for Primary Industry, Niall Blair should order the removal of the shark nets immediately.
"We are really happy the nets are coming out mid-June, but I would like to ask Niall Blair why the nets ate still in when we already have the answers," she said.
"With only a handful of target species being caught and over 100 innocent and harmless marine creatures dying in the past five months, including 50 in the April to May bycatch report, they should finish the trial right now."
Ms Southwell said she was also concerned the most recent bycatch report showed the death of a grey nurse shark, which she said is a critically endangered species.
UPDATE 8.10am : Greens call for drumlines over nets
NSW Greens MP and Marine Environment spokesman Justin Field has called on the state government to take an evidence-based approach to shark management and choose drumlines over nets.
"The evidence is in," he said.
"Shark nets are little more than floating death traps for all marine life while drumlines appear to be an efficient means of catching target sharks."
Mr Field said everyone wants to ensure people are kept as safe as possible while keeping the marine environment healthy by minimising the toll on sharks and other marine animals.
THE state government has said it will pull shark nets out of the water on the North Coast next month and install more SMART drumlines, it has been reported.
The Department of Primary Industries released the details of the net bycatch for April to May, which revealed that 50 animals had died.
Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said to date, six target sharks had been caught the nets, compared with 29 on the SMART drumlines.
He said the indication was that SMART drumlines were the smart option.
"The results that we are getting are very positive, they are very targeted in the fact that there's basically very little bycatch associated with them (and) we're happy with the results that we've seen to date," Mr Blair said.
The minister said 10 more SMART drumlines will be put in the water in mid June and that the net trial would continue despite the start of the whale migration season.
"We've said all along that we wanted to have the nets in the water for six months, we're going to take them out of the water after the June long weekend.
"The advice that I have is that that won't cause any issues with the whale migration and certainly that's something we want to make sure that we don't have an impact on," Mr Blair said.
Ballina Shire Councillor Nathan Willis said this on Facebook last night:
"Just received word that the failed shark net trial in Ballina Shire will end earlier than planned due to the impact on other marine species.
"Proud to say that with Keith Williams I never supported this measure.
"It was always political and very poor policy.
"We now stand a chance of keeping our dolphin and other key marine life populations in Ballina Shire.
"Don't get me wrong, we need shark mitigation measures.
"It's just that nets were never that measure."
June 13 will mark the end of the six month shark net trial, it has been reported.