Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Australia : shark nets killing protected species

Over 90 animals on protected species lists have been killed in Australia's New South Wales shark nets, according to a government report released Monday.

Over 700 marine creatures were caught in the nets, with 364 killed in just a one year period.

This is an increase of over 200 percent on the numbers in the 2014-15 year, with 23 protected or threatened species killed at that time.

Greens Party MLC Justin Field said the shark nets should be phased out in favor of non-lethal methods.

"Laid out nose to tail, the marine animals killed by this program including dolphins, rays, turtles and non-threatening sharks would stretch half the length of Bondi Beach," Field said.

"The shark mesh program provides questionable protection to New South Wales swimmers and divers, but costs a fortune in terms of destruction to our wildlife and dollars spent."

But director of the Department of Primary Industries Scott Hansen, who oversee the nets, said his department is doing everything in its power to ensure animal harm is minimized.

In a statement released Tuesday, Hansen said the rate of animal survival after being entangled had improved, and technology was making it easier to ensure the wrong marine creatures were not getting caught.

The shark net program was extended in November last year, after increased incidences of attacks occurred along the New South wales coastline.

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