Shark nets 'do nothing' to reduce chance of attack: study
The shark nets used on Sydney beaches in New South Wales do nothing to reduce the chance of attacks, a statistical analysis has found.
Associate Professor Laurie Laurenson from Deakin University's School of Life and Environmental Sciences has analysed 50 years of data about shark mitigation programs and coastal populations in NSW and South Africa.
He told Four Corners reducing the density of local shark populations did not reduce the likelihood of shark attack.
"I can show statistically that there is no relationship between the number of sharks out there and the number of shark attacks," he said.
"It's just simply not there … I'm surprised that it's not there, but it's not there."
It is the first time a comprehensive analysis has been done in an effort to link populations of sharks and people and the number of attacks in netted areas.
Intuitively, you would expect if there are fewer sharks out there, there's going to be fewer attacks. We can't show that.
Dr Laurie Laurenson, Deakin University.
The findings are included in an unpublished paper which is in the process of being peer reviewed.