Nov. 18, 2016 – The Australian Marine Conservation Society expresses grave concern at a kneejerk decision to exempt the NSW Government from national environmental law, allowing the immediate deployment of new shark nets in Northern NSW.

On Wednesday 16 November Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg announced that the Federal Government has granted the NSW Government an exemption under National Environmental law, specifically to conduct a 6 month shark net trial on the NSW North Coast within the next year.

AMCS spokesperson Josh Coates said “This is a rush job to implement something that doesn’t work. The legislation to allow this has been pushed through NSW parliament with reckless haste and without appropriate checks and balances. The exemption from federal laws uses emergency provisions designed for responding to national emergencies like bushfires and other natural disasters. This is not what those provisions were designed for.”

“Human safety is very important and, while rare, shark interactions do happen. But shark nets provide no guarantee of safety – just a false sense of security. Sharks can and do swim over and around them. Yet shark nets come at heavy cost to our marine ecosystems, killing a range of species indiscriminately, including sharks, turtles, dolphins and whales.”

“There is no statistical evidence that they actually increase safety. It is public education, beach patrols, shark spotting and improved medical responses that are improving safety for beachgoers.”

“Drowning while swimming causes many more fatalities than sharks, yet we are not calling for a ban on swimming. Nor should we be calling for wholesale slaughter of sharks.”

The first of 5 new shark nets will be installed today at Lighthouse Beach Ballina, with an additional five nets to be deployed later in the coming year.
The other 4 locations announced for the initial deployment of shark nets are Lennox Head main beach, Sharpes Beach, Shelley Beach and Evans Head Beach.