Nets keep killing sea creatures

THE Queensland Government needs to do more research to improve methods of protecting our beaches from sharks, a Gold Coast environmental group claimed last week.

Gecko claimed the shark nets and drum lines currently in use were responsible for killing dozens of sharks each year along with baby whales, dolphins and turtles that often became entangled in the nets or snagged on the drum lines.

Gecko volunteer Irene Wareing said alternatives to nets and drum lines, including sonar devices which could be used to keep marine creatures away from beaches and swimming areas, would be more effective than current techniques.

"People forget sharks have a place in the ecosystem as well," Ms Wareing said.

"The sonar idea is a great idea if it's going to repel the ocean creatures from ever getting close in the first place, therefore everyone will be protected. We need to do more research to find a non-lethal way of deterring sharks from beaches and swimming areas because sharks do have their place and we don't know what might be the impact if we reduce their number."

The claims came after the Queensland Government confirmed shark nets and baited drum lines will remain on Queensland's beaches as it was the best option available after a recent review of the state's shark safety program.

The review was sparked following the death of Sarah Whiley, 21, who was killed in a savage shark attack at Amity Point, North Stradbroke Island, in January this year.

A total of 84 beaches in Queensland are currently protected by shark nets or drum lines, or a combination of the two and there are currently 11 shark nets and 32 drum lines between South Stradbroke Island and Byron Bay.

Ms Wareing said although the Government said it would continue to fund research, more needed to be done. Gecko will be submitting a petition to State Parliament to get more funds committed to research alternative technologies.

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