View Full Version : Shark nets - your thoughts

18-09-2005, 07:21 PM
A hot topic around even non fishos ...

I have had some strong conversations with people at work over my thoughts that beach nets should be removed .

My thoughts .....if you jump in their backyard .....you should be prepared to take the risk , if not ....buy a pool or stick to fresh water and tidal pools !

thought it would be interesting to see if my thoughts on how fishos view this .
Not sure what you actually call the new techno with the magnetic pulses under a float line to set a barrier ...but you get my drift

i have seen so many turtles caught up in them , and the whale migration again this year caused some stirs ....sickens me the mindless killing of many animals for the piece of mind of a ' possible ' attack

18-09-2005, 07:53 PM
Jeez Billo, I reckon this one will get #some feedback.

You have arguements for and against this, and both sides have credence !

I'll put this up. #In most cases of regulations and rules, they are set for the ' majority '. Other cases they are set for economic reasons. #So I see both #of these areas being utilized #here to argue ' FOR " the nets.

It would be interesting if others here knew the details of other countries that used drum lines, sound barriers etc, and the success thereof.

It is a senseless waste of animal life, both for Shark, Turtle Whale etc, but that arguement does not stand up to the parent who just had their kid mauled by a shark, because a tree hugger ( and no disrespect here to anyone, it's just terminology ) had the net removed.

Sometimes we humans do things that we think are good for US, and we go on blindly believing so. #As the top of the heap, I think we have a certain ( not absolute ) right to do the utmost to protect our species, and if that involves #harming another species, so be it, it is NOT a perfect world and we, most of all, are not perfect. #So we compensate by doing the best we can. #Maybe in years to come,we will look back and say" why didn't we use sound barriers back in 2005 #? " #

Billo, the whale population has increased in tremendous numbers over the last 5 - 10 years. #This is due to we humans undoing some of the things I spoke about above. #Doing what we believed is best for us ( whale hunting for food ). #That change alone is having the desired impact. #

Now for the political point of view.

The fact that a few #animals of the sea die in the nets off the swimming beaches is not worth a pollies pooper scooper. #This is a non event for the Members of Parliament that we have put into power. #Sad but simple fact.

Cheers #Phill

18-09-2005, 08:50 PM
As you said its their domain, why should we hinder them in their travels or search for food.
It will also stop the hinderance to those whales that travel inshore.
Us humans are the most predominant predators on this planet, so if we want to play in their or someones elses backyard you face the consequences.
We have exclusion zones and go slow areas in the bay, to help protect the turtles and dugongs, so why should us humans try and enforce exclusion zones on sharks just to protect those that want to play in their waters.
Next thing we'll be stringing wire fences along the creeks to stop the croc's or other barriers to protect us human predators from being hurt while we play or hunt.

18-09-2005, 09:06 PM
Remove the nets and move forward to non-lethal technologies....

As has already been said, we are in their territory and not they in ours. It is not just the whales and turtles but those that go out to rescue these unfortunate creatures that have their lives put at risk.

18-09-2005, 10:04 PM
Yes ....you do set a strong argument phill ...not one that would change my thinking ,but strong never the lessand is probably along the lines of most the population

More people die of falling coconuts in the world...do we chop down coconut trees ?

Fact .....More people die of allergic reactions from Bee stings ....but do we do massive exterminations of bees ?

Human nature is to try and control our environment ...But who says it is ours in the first place ?
We like to gamble , but try to set the odds in our favour ...if there is way to do that , we somehow get incoherent to the bigger picture.

The fact that more shark attacks haapen could be caused by many things...our tendencies to believe we are unstoppable and venture into more waters . More people means bigger odds we come face to face with a shark . Bait schoolds being torn apart by our need to plenish our food stocks...means they need to venture into new territories to survive ...could go on for ever ! ::)

My personal belief on life is that we are just another animal on this planet and have become too smart for our own good ...the need for control has overwhelmed us. We will ALL die one day ....it's natures way ....why try and control the course of nature....we can never do it .
The more we try and control and set our selves at the top of the food chain , the more the food chain below us crumbles .

Yes , whale populations are on the rise ...but i do not believe we can justify the death of thousands of animals to save maybe one of ours ....we all gotta go some day ....destroying other life to try and delay the inevidable ....????...? i don't know .

I have deep respect for these apex predators and believe they too need a right to survive within their own territory ...and they deserve a fair fight ......mass netting is not fair

Will be interesting to see what a larger scale of votes will make the worm do !?

19-09-2005, 11:17 AM
I would agree with most points made, my view, we have the technology and research capabilities to find another way other ways than nets. We should be able to find a solution for us and nature. The beaches should be safe (as can be), but also it should be at the peoples risk (as any involvement with nature) who wishes to enjoy it. The nets I believe are to intrusive on other species as already stated, but I think there should be something as if the beaches were unprotected and something did happen it could have a detrimental impact on the status of a huge draw card for the south east beaches.
You go to the reef, looks good for a snorkel, you see the grey coats, you donít go in? or do you ask for them to be removed so you can do want you want?
I think today, people must take responsibilities for their own actions, the days of litigation and blame need to come to end or we will all be paying for it and wonít be able to enjoy it.

19-09-2005, 01:25 PM
well said Chong ;)

19-09-2005, 03:46 PM
Yes you are so right Chong......

Well said. :)

19-09-2005, 04:04 PM
I would like to see some sort of new technology (if any becomes available) to replace the nets. Until that happens, the nets should stay, in my view. I believe that this public liability/litigation rubbish has gone too far and we need to get back to a balance.

What would happen if the nets were removed and not replaced with some other device, and a person got taken? The legal people would be dribbling at the mouth.

There are valid views for this on both sides of the fence.


19-09-2005, 04:15 PM
I believe its more a a Tourist thing. That is the Gold Coast Council likes to promote and advertise the fact to the world that our beaches are safe because of the nets . But in my opion there are just as many sharks inside the nets .Just a personal observation from my surfing days and present fishing of the GC area.
I perosonaly don't think shark nets are effective enough to warrent there use. For every one shark that is caught maybe 100 sharks swim around them.Just guessing figures here

19-09-2005, 05:41 PM
I ahve recently purchased a shark shield which is a new device from seachange which you strap to your leg and it emits a small electrical charge (yes it can zap you) which is spposed to deter big sharks.

Would like to say that I have tested at the reef and it does not workj on reefies or sharks below 6 foot. Hpwever have seen good results on bigger sharks.

This technology is not yet efficient enough to replace nets. I say keep em in and even add more.

20-09-2005, 08:45 AM
funny how we fight for there existence on the regards of the ' tourists ' dollar when tourists who don't head warnings and swim outside nets , flags ,...swim in rivers up north where crocs are , go camping in never never land thinking sh'll be right , swim in the GBR without stinger suits when told they should .

The fact is if we never had the nets there no one would play the blame game when someone got attacked ..

We seem to say if they took a informed risk , then it is there decision .....same goes with the beaches and reefs .....they have an informed decision , but because we are split on the idea of nets , we believe liability comes in and we are EXPECTED to secure the beaches .

Most attacks .....nearly all attacks on on people who go into 'their zones'

did you watch the 'sharks on trial ' last night .....very interesting !

From the mouth of a man who has been attacked by a great white , and witnessed friends being waten

' It is their place ......they have a right to be there .....if i jump in their backyard ...thats my decision '

I would also like to note i am not a hippy against the killing of sharks ....just indiscriminat killing of marine life for the sake of one or two possible man eaters .

I think ANY shark that shows a pattern of patrolling beaches regularly should be hunted and killed , more money should be put into the investigation of sound field barirers and more advice given to swimmers . along with the possible yet MINIMAL seasonal summer netting of major beaches only ! Like the idea of stinger nets up north ....give tourists and swimmers a 'safe zone' and leave the rest as open water....instead of netting everything where someone would like to swim

Dev , Bring on the shark shields !
Could you believe how close that guy got to the great whites whilst free swimming on his tests of the device...INSANE...i bet they didn't want to show the dozen guys with power heads just out of shot #;D !!!!!!!!!

Willo ...yes , i too have seen sharks within the net boundaries ....giving more weight to the debate . i think they could almost be concidered as a placebo ....ie they are there as we thinkg they are efficient ....atleast that is what the councils want us to believe

20-09-2005, 11:12 AM
Thanks Billo and BosunsmateÖ

Just another quick one on this topic, there is a seasonal shark net across the end of Iluka bay in front of the park next to the boat ramp (removed in winter). It is approx. 50m long and is strung from the beach to the rock wall, maybe 20m out and a depth of 6m max protecting an area of a 1000m2 or so to swim. I have family in Iluka and they have seen the net cleaned by council a number of times (normally once a week), they have told me of some of the fish and crabs caught in this net even though it has a large mesh, one time as I am told, a 18lbs flathead, crabs both mud and sandies, shovel nose sharks and rays. :( Itís also an issue on larger tides just how efficient the net is, with a large gap on the ramp end? ::)
This area is used regularly when there is no net so far with out incident, I wonder if the sharks are seasonal in this area? Or how effective this net is against sharks? Seems to work well for big flatheadÖ..

20-09-2005, 03:25 PM
I say (like most of the above posts), its your own choice to enter the water, and we are all aware of the risks.

Just a few quick thoughts.

The nets dont span or close off a whole area of beach, so arent 100% effective.

Shark shields or similar devices have been proven to be innefective on small sharks, and also dont always deter large ones (if ever).

The Humpback whale population is increasing at 10% per year.

Drum lines attract sharks.

There are more pressing issues to either deter or at least not attract sharks (trawler dumping for one).


20-09-2005, 03:59 PM
Mini Im pretty convinced they work on larger sharks

20-09-2005, 04:04 PM
It's worth noting mini a reef shark and a large ocean going shark use their receptors quite differently .
A reef shark uses them under head searching for morsels in close range on the reef ...it is a concentarted scan of a small area ....like a hammerhead or white tip reefy, they will detect something and zone in on smaller and smaller circles untill they are over the frequency ...i do not believe they cover a large radious and not infront of them

larger sharks like tigers and whites and mako's use the sensors to find prey from up to 1 km away , taking a MASSIVE area from a wider angle ....hence being more prone to receptors picking up the signal from any angle nad are much more delicate ...which is also why a white doesn't mess around ...he can't risk damaging those receptors

20-09-2005, 07:24 PM
I answered keep the nets, but I would rather see something less destructive in it's stead.
If sound devices could be shown to be as effective I'd vote for them.
Either way my unreasonable fear of sharks will preclude me from being a surfer or diver.
Oddly I can't wait to pat a full grown tiger again next month [smiley=huh2.gif]
Don't think either can make you any deader ;D

21-09-2005, 06:28 AM
KEEP the nets ,explore new technology and "add them" to the nets ::)

i.e. IF new technology is effective ,nothing will get caught in them.......right :-/

p.s. put signs up "on the nets" .... ::)

NO SHARKS ALLOWED past this point......prob solved 8-)

21-09-2005, 10:17 AM
I think the nets should stay, for all the reasons Phil laid out. The majority good is more important than the minority.

Yes, the nets are a placebo and dont even go the whole length of the beach. Placebo effect is excatly why they should stay. The public will not have confidence in any new technology.

I also cringe everytime a whale or other crature is caught in them, but you cant expect the tourists to come here if the beaches are not netted.

21-09-2005, 11:27 AM
I really think it is amazing the way some things get justified .
Logic and reason is out the door , everything comes back to the $$$$$$
Yet we say no to whaling which could bring in megga bucks... as the tourist $$$$$ that we would lose due to mismanagement of resources and public opinion could be worth more then the dollars for the whale itself .
If no one cared about whaling or not , and if the dollars were not there to support the scenic industry , do you believe that whaling would be allowed ?....all comes back to the dollar ....at the end of the day , the dollar does not live forever . This country send far too much out of t he country , thats the only reason why we rely so heavily on the tourist to bring it back in .

21-09-2005, 12:44 PM
Think about this, according to the ABS, the number 1 employer on the coast is the tourism industry, no 2 is the building trade, and no 3 is retail shopping.

In my street, most of my neighbors are employed in one of these 3 industries. How about your street? I imagine most are the same. If the tourists stop coming, watch unemployment skyrocket. Remember the pilots strike? SARS? When the hotels are empty, people get laid off, and then theres all the supporting industries who feed of tourism indirectly. If theres no jobs here, then pople stop moving here. Ooops down goes the building industry.

I know what most of my neighbors will say, if it comes down to a choice between whales and morgtages.

Our image of clean safe beaches has to be maintained at all costs. I wish there was a way to keep both groups happy.

21-09-2005, 01:23 PM
Very True .....but i think it is us that believe tourism will fall over ....i doubt it would .

Would you cancel a trip to Africa because they don't have lion fences around the villages ?
Would you cancel a trip to Canada because you heard they can't guarantee a bear would not walk into camp ?
Would you cancel a trip to Northern territory because they have not fenced off the creeks for crocodiles ?

I would be willing to bet that near half the tourists to this country would not go to the beach for a swim, or would not concider the beach a large reason for their trip here .
I would also be willing to bet out of all those tourists at the beach , no where near half would have a clue about nets being out there .....yet they all know about our sharks ...as said earlier ,...the amount of tourists ignoring the jellyfish issues on the reef is huge , even though it is well signed and in their faces everywhere

21-09-2005, 03:38 PM
Ladies and Gents,
I think the original topic was about the shark nets, not the social economic status of the related tourism industry and its impacts (although I agree this is very important). This is what I believe to be a classic example of what happens with larger or smaller organisations when appointed to address a situation.
Hypothetically, letís appoint a government depart to research and develop a better shark protection device.
1. we appoint the organisation with a clear directive and some $$$ ;)
2. they consult the necessary organisations and individuals involved
3. organisation and individuals disagree :(
4. appoint an investigation committee to see what the problem is, more $$$ [smiley=argue.gif]
5. they are accused of mismanagement by the original team :-X
6. investigate the investigation committee from another separate individual who has nothing to do with the original directive, more $$$$$
7. and so on
My point here is this happens on chat boards to the highest echelon of politics and beyond. Like I stated in my earlier post if people took responsibility for there own actions and said ok lets fix the problem it would get done. [smiley=2thumbsup.gif] We can send robots to mars and drive them around, but we canít stop some sharks swimming near the shore with out killing or impacting on harmless other animals????

Not having a go at anyone, just my thought for the day. [smiley=gossip.gif]

21-09-2005, 11:12 PM
i guess it comes down to intrinsic value - us, or us AND the rest of the animal kingdom? having seen many of these awesome beasts up close i know where i stand. yes i fish and often eat the fish i catch (rarely more than two fish), but if i got mauled tomorrow by a tiger, i know i'd want the thing to be left alone.


22-09-2005, 09:46 AM
Yes, your probably right, the tourist industry wont fallover. We already lose quite a few japs to rips and it doesnt get sensationalised.

Im just pointing out why the pollies wont touch this issue.

22-09-2005, 04:01 PM
As an oldy I can still remember (58 years ago) hearing that one of my play mate had been taken by a shark at the Gold Coast. This was not an uncommon accurance the eventhough there was not the number of swimmers there are today.
You only have to notice the increasing numbers being attacked in South australia and Western Australia.
I hope that if the nets are withdrawn that a shark attack doesn't happen to someone close to you. Dont be fooled it can happen to you

22-09-2005, 04:40 PM
My thoughts, as a freediver/spearfisher I and my mates regularly come into contact with sharks. We have had fish taken off the spear by 3m bull sharks and even a 4m tiger out at the banks. I do not dive with a powerhead as I love the thrill of being in their domain. Saying all that in 5 years of diving frequently from staddie to the central coast I have only had to kill one shark in self defence. Personally I think shark nets or lines are a waste of time, sure some tigers, whalers and whites are caught but the odds these sharks are going to take someone are pretty slim. How many grey nurse sharks are killed by set lines? Maybee flat rock would still be available to us. I know spearfisherman in the past were responsible for a lot of indiscriminate killing of grey nurse sharks, but times have changed and I would hope most of us would realise how fragile our marine ecosystem is. Would love to see a poll of tourists and their attitude towards the nets and lines. I'm sure a majority would support any move that resulted in less indiscriminate killing. If I ever get eaten so be it.

22-09-2005, 04:46 PM
For my 2cents worth, I am born and bred on the Gold Coast, now living in Bris :'(. (so yes I am aware of having grown up with the nets there and that I do not have a before and after benefit of perspective) The nets are, as has been said, appearing more and more as a public relations tool today, than before. Odds are you are more likely to be bitten by a shark (or catch one) in a canal then the surf and we all know not to swim in canals (don't we??).

Of course as they say, the nets are there to protect us against those big 'man eaters' where if you get bit, you are more likely to die from it, or disappear all together. Well you should see the number and size of big sharks I have seen caught off Redcliffe Jetty. It would make your eye bulge!! [smiley=shocked.gif]
But am I wrong to say that you can travel all the way from Moreton Bay to the Nerang River without actually having to head outside? So what's stopping those big buggers doing the same? As far as I recall, there are no nets protecting the bay areas?

I have always been taught not to swim at dawn or dusk (high risk times), and definitely not at night because of sharks. So common sense is a must. As for those people in SA being taken, we all know that SA is a major Great White spot and the Gold Coast is not. SA also encourages shark cage diving where they lure in the sharks with a nice feed. And any shark worth his salt remembers where to go get a feed when needs be, and being used to people there at feeding time only adds to their people = food association. So drum lining is a dumb idea too, no need to lure them in and teach them to come in to shore for a feed.

I would like to hear from anyone who is a life saver, just about the only people I know who 'swim' out beyond the breakers.
Also, who is more likely to be taken at the beach? A surfer 'tea bagging' out back or a swimmer always on the move in shallower water?

22-09-2005, 05:20 PM
I think shark nets are silly, we need the sharks to eat people to keep the population down [smiley=devilish.gif]

23-09-2005, 08:08 AM
I hope that if the nets are withdrawn that a shark attack doesn't happen to someone close to you. Dont be fooled it can happen to you

I am aware of the risks ...always have been ...just like a realise when i drive into work on the freeway each day there is a risk of being in a car accident and dying like that . Life and death go hand in hand ...can't spend your entire life being shielded from danger ...and it is no ones fault that dangers exist ...this danger is not man made ...it's natural , so why try and remove it ?
What if you kid was taken!?? ...well again , there would be nothing happy about it , sure you would be shattered !
I wonder how many people concerned about their kids safety in the surf concider the road dangers and stop their teenagers from buying high powered sports cars , motor bikes and the likes ....there is a higher chance of serious injury or death , yet we seem to believe that is an acceptable risk !???

Gogecko, i am totally aware of pollies positions ...we all are ....but how many pollies speak for all of us...they will say what they think bulk of the population thinks ( or atleast what they think the population wants )...even if they disagree personally

Thanks for the feedback guys ....i think it is quite obvious the split between peoples opinion is quite evenly weighted . But as a whole it is identified as a concern that a higher then average percentage of the population feel something needs to be done to protect swimmers , with a bulk believing nets are not the answer, but do not want to drop the nets untill a solution is found ...
Maybe some of the RFL funds ( if QLD follows NSW ) should be directed at technological improvements for securing beaches without the damage on other marine life ....something to think about if and when we get a say !

23-09-2005, 12:42 PM
I answered, Swimmers risk. So many people simply refuse to take responsibilty for their own actions.

I can remember as a kid taking holidays on the mid north coast of NSW. Mum would always stop at Karuah for lunch and a swim at the little park beside the highway because it had a swimming area that was fenced off. Perhaps it would be money better spent to do similiar things on beaches.


23-09-2005, 02:20 PM
James ,
Gotto agree ....
They do it up north for stingers without an issue from tourists as ' That is the way it is '
To put a safe swim area on each beach with a fine mesh ( small enough not to entangle countless marine animals ) from beach all the way out and back to beach would definately be a good compromise ....signage saying this is a safe swim area , outside this and it is at your own risk ..