NSW govt won't back down on shark nets

The NSW government says it won't end its controversial shark netting program just yet. (AAP)

The NSW government won't stop its shark net meshing program despite a Senate inquiry report finding nets provide a false sense of safety.

A shark expert has called on the NSW government to change its approach to shark prevention, insisting shark nets can't be relied upon to provide safety to beachgoers.

The criticism follows the release of a Senate inquiry report on Tuesday, which had been charged with examining shark mitigation and deterrent measures.

The report recommended shark nets across NSW beaches be phased out as their effectiveness was difficult to evaluate, but the significant damage caused to other marine wildlife was clear.

The NSW government has refused to put an end to its controversial netting program, noting on Wednesday there had only been one shark attack fatality at a meshed beach in NSW since the 1930s.

University of Sydney shark bite researcher Christopher Neff has slammed the government's decision, insisting the nets are not a "reputable approach" to beach safety.

"If the government ignores the most comprehensive study on shark prevention in Australia, they need to rethink their approach," Dr Neff told AAP on Wednesday.

"There is absolutely no evidence to support that shark nets are the leading beach safety option."

He urged the government to consider drones as an inexpensive early warning direction system that would work "phenomenally" with shark shields on surfboards.

The Greens-dominated Senate committee found the measures implemented by some governments, including mesh nets in NSW, provided beachgoers with a false sense of security.

But NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair has remained firm in the government's decision to keep the meshed nets in place.

"I find it insulting to the staff that have been researching this area, insulting to the investment we've put in and more importantly it's insulting to the communities that have been affected by shark attacks," Mr Blair told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

Following concerns about the amounts of by-catch caught up in the nets, the government made modifications to reduce the effects on marine wildlife and continues to investment in SMART drumlines and drone technology as part of a suite of measures to make beachgoers safe, Mr Blair said.

Marine conservationist and drone operator Dean Jefferys also championed the use of drones as a "ridiculously cheap" option but said it was about time the government came on board and phased out the nets.

"If the government refuses to implement the recommendation of the Senate inquiry, we will launch an international social media campaign urging tourists and locals to not swim at beaches with shark nets," Mr Jefferys told AAP on Wednesday.

Source: AAP

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