Shark net trial fails in Australia

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Shark net trial fails in Australia

The trial in Australia appears to have failed to prevent bull sharks entering swimming waters, but could potentially have a devastating impact on other marine life

A recent trial of shark nets on the north coast of New South Wales has been found to have captured just one individual from the target species, according to a report in the Guardian.

The nets, designed to prevent "shark-human interactions" with the aim of reducing the likelihood of injury or death, work by catching and killing certain species of shark known to present a higher risk.

However, during the last two months just one individual bull shark was caught in in the nets. In more worrying news, a further 55 animals not targeted by the trial were captured and, in many cases, killed by the nets.

In particular, a common dolphin and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin were killed, as well as four vulnerable hammerhead sharks and dozens of rays. A loggerhead turtle was also captured, though this individual was released.

Speaking to the Guardian, the primary industries minister, Niall Blair, said that the trial would continue, as "to terminate the trial at this stage will prevent informed decisions about the use of mesh nets."

Bycatch represents a significant threat to whales and dolphins around the world, and ORCA's data aims to help make informed decisions on marine and fishing policy that can limit the risk to cetaceans.