This summer, shark nets will be deployed at New South Wales beaches, despite widespread opposition from environmentalists and local governments. According to The Guardian, the state’s premier, Chris Minns, confirmed that the government will install shark nets, which will run alongside other shark detection technology, including SMART drumlines, drones and listening stations.
Shark nets were first installed off Bondi’s shore in 1937 and have been used every summer since, apart from three years during World War II. In September, the nets will go up at 51 beaches between Newcastle and Wollongong, where they will stay in place for six months.
Though Minns applauded the ambition of the shark net opponents, he stated that alternative shark deterrent and detection technology still has “a ways to go,” and would not be ready in time for September. “Last year was the first year when we had … nets as well as drone technology and other emerging trends for shark detection and warning systems,” he said on Monday. “Now, we’re not in a position at the moment where we can say hand on heart for this coming summer that these new technologies are as good a replacement as shark nets for Sydney beaches.”
However, many assert that the nets aren’t effective in the first place. A report from the Department of Primary Industries found that around 86 percent of marine animals caught in shark nets off NSW beaches in the 2021-2022 season were non-target species, which has been a key factor in the call for their removal.
“The bycatch is unacceptable,” said Waverley mayor Paula Masselos, who oversees popular beaches such as Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte. “Our community has moved on and it’s time the government moved on. Developing technology is there and we should be across that.”