As reported in Mirage News, Australian conservation groups have joyfully announced a new plan to install additional drones and other non-lethal shark surveillance tools on NSW beaches. This is an exciting step towards the use of science-backed safety strategies that work for both swimmers and wildlife, rather than shark nets and other techniques that can prove fatal to sharks.

This news comes after Humane Society International (HSI) and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) publicly addressed the NSW government, regarding their Shark Observation Grants Program. These organisations are petitioning for change, asking that the programme begin paving the way towards sustainable observation options - replacing the ineffective and highly destructive shark nets currently used in NSW waters.

Regional organisations such as local councils, and NGOs including Marine Rescue NSW and Surf Life Saving NSW, are now able to apply for government grants to implement shark surveillance technologies. These efforts will include drones, observation towers, and emergency communication and evacuation systems.

This is an essential move away from fatal techniques such as culling sharks in nets. And, it's an important acknowledgement of how effective these advanced surveillance programmes can be. The NSW government's endorsement of this program will help protect swimmers and sharks all along the coast, paving the way for peaceful coexistence. 

Sadly, shark nets kill hundreds of harmless marine animals each year across the 51 NSW beaches where they are in use.  And sharks are just one type of animal impacted - sea turtles and dolphins are frequent casualties as well. To make matters worse, at just 150 metres in length, the nets do not form an effective barrier. In fact, a recent study showed that 40% of sharks were caught on the beach side, or inside the net, and 34 unprovoked shark interactions have occurred on netted beaches - indicating little to no protection for swimmers.

"Shark nets provide nothing more than a false sense of security. And the sooner we can transition to non-lethal alternatives, such as those covered by this new grant program, the better for NSW's marine wildlife and the beach-going public. The only guarantee we have from these nets are the drownings of iconic wildlife like dolphins, sharks and turtles."- Tooni Mahto, AMCS Spokesperson

It seems that the government of NSW is taking this information to heart, beginning the process of ditching nets in favour of modern, effective, and non-lethal techniques with a focus on technology. After all, the same system has been in place for over 100 years, with little to no positive impact. It's time for Australia to take a stand and protect its sharks - and this new programme may well be the first step towards lasting change!