A shark swims off the beach at Cudgen.
A shark swims off the beach at Cudgen. contributed

Govt now has 'tremendous power' to catch and kill sharks

THE NSW Greens have warned shark nets risk a "false sense of security" for beach lovers while preparing to oppose legislation allowing their rollout on the North Coast.

Upper House Greens MP Justin Field said shark nets weren't a silver bullet and they wouldn't guarantee public safety.

"Nets are not a barrier and bites do occur at netted beaches," Mr Field said.

"They also have unintended consequence like catching and killing other marine life."

Mr Field said some people would be "alarmed" that the shark net legislation covered the entire NSW coastline and that Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair now had "tremendous power to put nets or other devices to catch and kill sharks across the entire NSW coastline".

"While I don't believe it is the intention of the Government to deliberately kill or harm sharks or other marine animals that is the likely consequence of this legislation and it is being done despite the fact that it won't guarantee public safety.

"The Greens are committed to a science based approach to keep people as safe as possible whilst respecting our wild oceans and the creatures that live in it, including sharks.

"No one can guarantee complete safety but we can do more by supporting community led programs and helping bring to market technology that enables individual users to take their own precautions," he said.

"Shark nets are not the answer."

Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the government could never "entirely reduce the risk of shark attack, but we are committed to doing everything we can to make our beaches safer."

A spokesman from Mr Blair's office listed the community consultation over shark nets conducted on the North Coast to date.

It has included two formal meetings in October and November, ongoing meetings with other key interest groups including commercial fishers and Australian Seabird Rescue, and a mailout to Ballina and Richmond Valley residents.

Since October 29, there has also been a daily community drop-in stand at relevant locations.

More detailed information is available here: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/sharks

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