Australia's shark nets — the dubious contraptions designed to keep sharks from reaching beachgoers — are supposed to keep swimmers safe. But more than anything they kill marine life.
The cruel devices ensnare and often kill thousands of protected species like dolphins, turtles, rays, and whales.
Case in point, what happened earlier this week off Australia's Gold Coast. Rescuers found a young adolescent Humpback completely entangled in a shark net
. According to the Huffington Post, "the whale was thrashing and rolling repeatedly in an effort to free itself from the net, which caused the lines to tighten around its tail and pectoral fins."
The whale was the fourth this year to get entangled in a shark net and if it hadn't been for rescuers, who risked their lives to free the marine mammal, it likely would have tired and drowned. The story might have a happy ending but not all are lucky enough to be saved. In fact, last year, shark nets in the state of New South Wales (NSW) alone ensnared more than 300 nontarget animals
and killing half of them. Shark nets aren't even proven to protect the public from attacks. In NSW, for example, 65% of shark bites occur at netted beaches.
Australia's marine life is already under attack. From the degradation and bleaching of the Great Coral Reef to the warming waters that have threatened the survival of critical species like the green sea turtles. Shark nets only make it harder for our precious marine life to survive. The worst part is it doesn't have to be this way. There are other methods to protect swimmers while also protecting marine life.
Drone technology and using special buoys that emit sounds that scare sharks are just two of the options.
The Australian government can come up with a plan that protects marine life and humans at the same time. Please sign the petition and ask them to find a less harmful and more effective way to protect beachgoers. It's time to remove the shark nets.