Frequently Asked Questions

1

If State Government doesn't want to remove the nets should we not trust their decision?

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) annual reports are damning of the shark net programme and consistently say that the programme does not protect swimmers, and is catching and killing threatened species and pushing non-threatened species to become vulnerable to extinction.

 

Report by Fisheries Scientific Committee says the nets were introduced in 1937 to “reduce the number of sharks” and say “the nets do not act as a complete barrier to sharks”.

 

In DPI’s annual report on sharksmart.nsw.gov.au it says " the nets are not a guarantee that shark encounters will not occur” and “is listed as a key threatening process in the Fisheries Management Act 1994 and the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 as it adversely affects threatened species, populations or ecological communities, or causes species, populations or ecological communities that are not threatened to become threatened”.

Waverley Council voted to remove the nets but it is a state government decision. We need the public to support the decision so that State Government bow to public pressure.

2

Don't the nets act as a deterrent?

The DPI agrees that the nets are designed to catch and kill and in non-discriminatory way and do not protect swimmers or deter sharks. Even more scary is that when an animal is caught in the net and left flapping for a number of minutes or hours or days it attracts larger sharks to the area to feed on the animals caught in the net. See this photo as one of many examples (there are hundreds of photos like this). There is other new technology that offers better protection to our community and marine life.

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3

Wouldn't the removal of the shark nets will make it less safe on beaches?

The nets do not keep you safe, even according to the government’s own reports. We propose to replace the nets and use a combination of modern solutions that will provide far more protection and not impact the marine environment such as fake kelp forest barriers, drone technology, personnel shark deterrent technology and shark spotter programmes.

 

The nets are giving you a false sense of security and only act as a placebo volleyball net in an ocean providing you with zero protection. In fact much evidence suggests that a shark net attracts predatory sharks to the beach and so you could even argue the current shark nets make it less safe than having nothing at all.

4

I am a spearfisher - without the nets how can I be kept safe?

The chances of you having a shark encounter are higher if you are carrying dead fish with you. Think of it in this way: it’s the same as walking with a beef steak in your pocket - how many dogs will follow you and want the meat?

 

You can still spear and be around sharks, you just need to be smart about it and keep take catches out the water as soon as you can, and not keep them on your body.

 

The current nets are not deterring sharks, and in fact are attracting sharks to the area to feed on the animals caught in the nets.  Modern technology like the personnel shark deterrent mentioned on our solutions page would keep you safer than you are right now with the nets in place

5

Personal deterrents are a luxury I can’t afford so how can I use them?

in Western Australia, the State Government has a $200 rebate available for the purchase of our FREEDOM+ Surf and FREEDOM7 – applied at the point of sale when you buy in-store. We can push NSW to adopt the same approach.

6

How can I swim in the ocean and feel safe without the nets?

Sharks, jellyfish, rays and rip tides are in the ocean and so if you want total protection use swimming pools, ocean enclosed beaches, or use personnel deterrents.

 

The ocean is a wild place and the most dangerous element is rip tides rather than sharks so we must learn to coexist with the wildlife that lives in the ocean.

 

This is a really useful guide to help you know how to feel safer around sharks: https://www.surfingguidetosharks.com/the-guide

7

Won’t the sharks approach the swimmers if nets removed?

There is no evidence that humans are shark's prey.

 

Furthermore, we do not propose taking out the nets and having nothing in place. By removing the nets we will instead use a combination of modern solutions that will provide far more protection and not impact the marine environment such as fake kelp forest barriers, drone technology, personnel shark deterrent technology and shark spotter programmes.

 

The nets are giving you a false sense of security and only act as a placebo volleyball net in an ocean providing you with zero protection. In fact much evidence suggests that a shark net attracts predatory sharks to the beach and so you could even argue the current shark nets make it less safe than having nothing at all.

8

But if shark populations are in decline why am I seeing more sharks?

No single piece of data that we are aware of points to a population increase. The reason people are seeing more sharks could be due to a reduction in natural food sources, change in oceanic temperatures and currents changing behaviour and spatial distribution, could be more frequent fishing presence on the location than historically (leading to stronger habituation) or a number of other things.

All evidence is suggesting that most sharks are vulnerable to extinction and we need sharks for healthy oceans. So if you enjoy fishing, or eating fish, you need sharks.

9

I thought the nets were checked regularly so that nothing dies?

DPI are contracted to check every 72hrs. Dolphins hold breath for 20mins. Sharks need to swim to breathe. Seals hold breath for 7 mins. Turtles only hold breath for 2hrs.

 

Unfortunately unless the nets were monitored 24/7 a day death of innocent endangered animals is inevitable. It is totally impractical to monitor the nets as frequently as is required to prevent animals dying in the nets.

10

Don't the dolphin pingers on the nets prevent deaths?

Since the technology was introduced there has been no major change in the number of deaths every year from dolphins. A humpback whale was caught in the nets in Queensland in August 2021, so clearly these pingers do not work.

11

Drones are already in use so how is that a solution?

The use of drones has been part of a $16M Government trial and is proving successful. We propose to end the trial and use the programme as a valid alternative to the lethal shark nets then.

We also propose complementing the drones with a combination of other solutions such as the fake kelp forests and use of personnel shark deterrent technology.

 

This will create jobs and be cheaper than the current process of paying for the maintenance, replacements and monitoring of shark nets.