Annual shark meshing program—NSW 2023

The NSW Government is currently calling for tenders for its annual shark meshing program. It has stirred up a wave of controversy. Despite widespread calls for the program to be scrapped, the government has taken a surprising step in initiating the tender process before a final decision has been made about the program.

Concerns about endangered species

For years, activists have raised concerns about the negative impact of shark nets on marine life. The nets, which are placed off 51 beaches between Newcastle and Wollongong, are known to harm endangered sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and other species. Recent reports have highlighted discrepancies in the government’s data on shark meshing. This has added to the growing concerns about the program’s effectiveness and consequences.

ABC online and The Central Coast News report that the tender has taken many by surprise. Activists like Ronny Ling from Marine Wildlife Rescue Central Coast, expressed disbelief at the decision. Ling stated, “We’re dealing with the most incredibly dangerous creature in the world here, and that’s politicians and bureaucrats—not sharks.”

Other local community members, such as ocean swimmer Nada Pantle, have also voiced their opposition to the shark meshing program. They stress the need for their removal. The prevailing sentiment is that these nets not only fail to effectively protect beachgoers but also pose a significant threat to a diverse range of marine life.

Concerns about the tender process

Minister for the Central Coast, David Harris, has shown his commitment to finding alternative solutions and considering scientific evidence. However, the issuing of tenders has raised concerns about the decision-making process.

Many question the logic behind calling for tenders without a definitive verdict on the program’s future. The community believes it is crucial for the NSW Government to acknowledge the growing consensus for change and prioritise the preservation of marine ecosystems. The call for the removal of the shark netting program across the Central Coast has been unanimous. The concerns raised by activists, experts, and community members should not be ignored they say.