Shark nets 'not effective' at Killcare
A proposal to remove shark nets from local beaches may not receive strong opposition from surf life saving clubs if Killcare Surf Life Saving Club president Mr Peter Bagnall is any example.
He believes there would be little or no impact on Killcare Beach if its shark nets were not reinstalled this September.
He was responding to a call by the NSW Greens to do away with shark nets before their scheduled installation this September.
The Greens' call followed a Department of Primary Industries annual report which revealed the nets had been ineffective at dealing with target shark species, while simultaneously impacting a number of no threat species of shark and other marine life.
The report showed shark nets deployed along the NSW coast caught 403 marine creatures in 2017/18, including dolphins, rays and endangered turtles, with 295 killed in the nets.
Of the netted species only 34 were target sharks.
Speaking personally, Mr Bagnall said he felt shark nets were an outdated practice and that he supported the call to see them pulled up for good.
"I do feel that shark nets cause far more harm than good," Mr Bagnall said.
"The impact they have on marine life is devastating with very little impact on actual target shark species.
"Our technology has evolved far beyond the capabilities of shark nets and I do think it is time the NSW Government looked at alternative measures such as sonar deterrents or smart drum lines.
"From a club perspective, everyone who goes to the beach knows that they're entering the sharks' territory.
"I don't believe many residents were even aware that Killcare has a shark net so I don't think we'd see a drop of beachgoers come summer either," he said.
According to Mr Bagnall, Killcare Beach's shark net covered just under a third of the beach and had not been an effective counter measure to sharks entering the beach.
"We didn't have many shark sightings last year but we did have some.
"We did have to use the shark alarm on a few occasions and just last year we had to chase a shark (species unknown) away from the beach during a SLSC Carnival, so all-in-all I don't think our net is that effective," Mr Bagnall said.
"Honestly, you have more chance of dying in a car crash on the way to the beach then you do of being attacked by a shark so I think it's time to retire the nets which have been big killers in our waters.
"I'm not aware of exactly how many shark nets are on the Coasts' beaches but I'm sure there are far more beaches without nets then with them so I really don't think it'd be a big adjustment for swimmers if the nets were pulled out," Mr Bagnall said.
Other local organisations that support the removal of shark nets on local beaches include the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia.
Media release, 8 Aug 2018
Justin Field, NSW Greens
Report, 8 Aug 2018
Shark meshing annual report, NSW DPI
Interview, 9 Aug 2018
Peter Bagnall, Killcare SLSC
Reporter: Dilon Luke