Sea Shepherd calling for rethink on shark nets
Sea Shepherd calling for rethink on shark nets AP Reel Time Fishing Charters Dr Carley Bansemer CONTRIBUTED

Not enough interest for shark net alternatives

NON-LETHAL solutions to shark nets will not be investigated on the Sunshine Coast because of lack of interest and political will.

An effective shark protection program based in South Africa, Shark Spotters, has been touring Australia to see if its non-lethal program could work here.

Marine conservation group, Sea Shepherd arranged crowd-funding for Shark Spotters to investigate the viability at key beaches in Western Australia, Northern New South Wales and on the Gold Coast.

But Sea Shepherd's Natalie Banks said there were no plans to visit the Sunshine Coast as "there hasn't been a lot of appetite for non-lethal alternatives in this region".

The Sunshine Coast has a wide range of shark nets and drum lines installed across its beaches, which kill sharks and other marine life.

The shark spotting program is the only one of its kind in the world and was adopted in Cape Town in 2004 in response to a spate of fatal attacks.

It involves a series spotters searching the water for sharks and providing an early warning system if any go near swimmers.

It is now the primary shark safety program used in Cape Town.

A shark exclusion barrier, which is erected daily, has also been put in place at Fish Hoek, a popular beach which had been the scene of four shark attacks.

But the barrier is safe for marine animals due to its design.

Ms Banks said they had investigated numerous sites across Australia, including nine on the Gold Coast of which "two to three had limited potential".

They were also travelling to Byron Bay, Lennox Head and Ballina.

Feasibility trials will be recommended for South West Wetern Australia.

Ms Banks said there needed t o be "an appetite for change" to try something different to prevent unnecessary killing of marine life.

"The Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast have become complacent, they think the situation is okay.

"This is despite the fact there has been a fatality at a beach which had drum lines in it (at North Stradbroke).

"That was 10 years ago and everyone is in a state of complacency, but there needs to be a serious look at non-lethal alternatives."