SHARK NETS AND DRUMLINES
The SCP (shark control program) equipment, aka shark nets, are located at 85 beaches along the east coast of Australia and run by the DPI (Department of primary industries). This includes 35 nets and 348 drumlines. The nets float and are two meters deep with a large area underneath them, at the end of the 120 meter net (they do not cover the whole beach) they are moored to the ocean floor. The drum lines are large baited hooks next to the nets. "The ‘SCP is not in place to protect swimmers from sharks, rather to cull them", the department of primary industries claims.
“it is effective in reducing the overall number of sharks in the area making it a safer place to swim.”
"The program has been running for many decades and the nets have been quite effective in reducing the local population of sharks."
Queensland fish Museum said.
:There have been more than 30 attacks at beaches with shark nets and one fatal attack at a beach with drumlines. This statement is popular because there have been no FATAL attacks, this isn't because of the shark nets however, rather because of the high level of infrastructure on the east coastline, meaning a very quick paramedic response time ensuring no victims die of blood loss.
In one year, 578 sharks were caught with the use of nets and drumlines, 137 were found alive, all but 23 of those were killed .The others, deemed harmless, were released. If found alive in the shark nets, no matter what the size, a Great White shark will be killed. (The white shark is listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. It is protected on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) and on Appendices I and II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), but the contractor hired to clean the shark nets has permission to kill them.
The bodies of sharks caught in the nets are then dumped offshore. Each drum line off our coast is baited with meat, in diving we call that ‘chumming’ with dead fish to attract sharks… in Australia, they call it protecting tourists. In 2011 in NSW, 61% of the marine life killed in the nets were “non-target” species. In 2010, that number was 64%. These species are whales, dolphins, manta rays, turtles, pelagic fish. The nets are suspended from brightly colored bouys, making it easy for tourists to see them. They are here to protect us from fear, nothing else. They are ineffective, not worth the damage they cause, and they are the most destructive and unacceptable price of our fear of sharks. The sharks nets are allowing an otherwise illegal toll on protected species, the scientific foundation of the reasons and effectiveness of the shark nets is non- existent.
On shark dives, dead animals are used to chum the waters and put out a sent that will draw sharks in closer. The shark nets do the exact same thing. An animal is caught, it dies, it rots before the contractors get to it, the smell takes only a few hours depending on the currents to float offshore, then it is picked by the shark, the animal known in the science world as ‘the swimming nose’ due to its incredible sense of smell and ability to track smells to the source. The shark them comes into the area, following that smell, before getting caught in the shark nets, it takes its time, it is careful, it feels splashing in the water and bypasses the smell to find the swimmers. A baited drum line can also attract sharks, this doesn't mean a shark will eat that food, it does however mean a shark is more likely to be in the area.
When you understand the way these animals and our oceans work, you struggle to understand our governments methods. More than one pregnant female tiger shark has been caught in the shark nets in the last year. Pregnant female tigers, travel inshore to pup so their babies are born in a safe environment. During this time, their appetite is suppressed and they are not hunting. This makes the bait on the drum line hook seem appealing. Stopping a mother of a vulnerable species such as the tiger shark from having its babies, is what the sharks nets are now doing.
Since 2008, fisheries data shows that a total of 54 Great White sharks have been culled by the programs in NSW and Queensland.
The nets also inadvertently killed 13 endangered grey nurse sharks during this period (four in NSW and nine in Queensland) because the program is indiscriminate in the species that it catches. New Zealand removed its shark nets in 2011 and stopped Brazil from considering the option, even following 11 shark attacks in 1994.
Image captured off surfers paradise.
The drumlines catch and kill sharks in a horrific long prosess.