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8 things you need to know about the performance of the NSW government shark nets in 2021/22

A harmless ray killed in NSW shark nets. Image obtained under Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, GIPA 22-41

Here are 8 things you should know about the NSW Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program 2021/22 Annual Performance Report released this week:

  1. The majority of animals caught by shark nets are threatened or protected animals, such as turtles, whales, dolphins, and others.

  2. 40 marine turtles were caught. That’s an average of one turtle caught in shark nets every 9 days, including threatened turtle species. That’s more than double last year.

  3. Only 51 target sharks were caught for the entire meshing season in the entire state, with just one in the entire Sydney Central meshing region (includes North Narrabeen, Narrabeen, Dee Why, Curl Curl, Harbord, Queenscliffe, North Styne, Manly).

  4. It appears whales are coming into contact with shark nets because shark nets are put back in the water before the whale migration season ends. “Contractors report ‘suspected whale damage’ to nets...These reports also coincide with the whale migration season.” says the NSW Government.

  5. Boats are getting caught in shark nets "Sydney South contractor reported that the Wanda net had the top rope cut through by a suspected boat propeller" and even "a yacht became tangled in a Cronulla net and had to be cut free."

  6. Nets have gone missing and remain unrecovered "Sydney North contractor reported that the Palm Beach net had a large section (approx. 4 - 5m) missing and the mesh was snapped, suspected caused by a large animal. The missing mesh was not recovered."

  7. Large sharks are finding their way out of nets "Central Coast contractor reported a significant hole found in the Avoca Beach net possibly caused by a large shark" and "Central Coast South contractor reported Avoca Beach net damage. Large animal (shark) appears to have bitten through the top line" and even "Avoca beach net had sustained damage. A section of net approx. 2.4m x 2.4m had been torn and it is believed to have been caused by a large animal (shark)."

  8. Shark incidents are still rising in meshed regions on a 10-year average. These nets, and the theory they are based on (culling regional shark populations) are not working.

Shark nets don’t keep people safe, but there are non-lethal alternatives that do. Many of these alternatives are already being used at beaches here in Australia and around the world.

It’s been 85 years, and we’re done with shark nets!

Email your local MP to support the removal of shark nets. We've made it super easy, just click the button below and follow the prompts.

Further reading

NSW Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program 2021/22 Annual Performance Report,

Department of Primary Industries, NSW Government.

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