One third of all shark and ray species are currently facing extinction. One of the threats to sharks in Australia are shark nets.
Shark nets are different from so called barrier or stinger nets that enclose a small area for swimmers right at the beach. Shark nets are usually around 150 m long and 6 m tall. They only cover a small part of the entrance to a beach. Sharks can easily swim underneath or around the net. However, large numbers of sharks get entangled in the nets and drown every year. This also applies to other marine species including whales, dolphins and turtles that are not part of the group of target species.
In fact, shark nets were introduced to Australian beaches in the 1930s to cull sharks. Over the decade the perception in the population has grown that shark nets protect swimmers and surfers from being attacked. However, to date there is no scientific evidence backing this view. On the contrary, shark nets might even attract sharks that are looking for easy prey among their entangled and drowned conspecifics and marine mammals in the nets.
The initiative ‘Saving Norman’ wants to change that. Our guest, Duncan Heuer, is part of this campaign and talks about the environmental impact of the nets and their non-lethal alternatives that might even provide more protection and safety.
Check out the initiative’s website!
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