One targets just sharks, the other kills everything
SMART drumlines seem to be doing a better job of catching dangerous shark species from North Coast beaches instead of more traditional nets.
This week shark nets were withdrawn from five North Coast beaches because of the early start to the whale migration season.
But figures published by the DPI for the period December to May show the nets caught just six of the targeted species of sharks (whites, tiger and bull sharks) and killed 130 other marine species including more than six different species of rays, non-targeted sharks such as the great hammerhead and dusky whaler, green and loggerhead turtles and dolphins.
During the same period the 25 SMART drumlines captured 30 targeted sharks, 29 of which were tagged and released with no harm.
Marine Ecologist, Dr Daniel Bucher said it's "clear the nets didn't do much at all in reducing the risk to swimmers".
"If we do want to go down the line of interfering with the sharks then certainly SMART drumlines are miles ahead in terms of effectiveness," Dr Bucher said.
The shark nets did not do what they were supposed to do, he said.
"Killing endangered species of dolphins and turtles to make people feel safer when they aren't actually safer... if people feel safer then we need to educate them a lot more", Dr Bucher said.
Shark nets used in NSW are 150 metres long by 6 metres deep, with a mesh size of 60 cm, set below the surface in about 10 to 12 metres of water, within 500 metres of the shore.
SMART drumlines comprise of an anchor and rope, two buoys, and a satellite-linked communications unit which is attached to a trace and a baited hook.
When a shark is hooked, the pressure on the line triggers the communications unit which alerts DPI scientists or contractors via phone call, email and text message to the presence of an animal on the line.
Figures can be obtained on both the nets and the SMART drumlines from http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/sharks/management/shark-net-trial and http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/sharks/management/smart-drumlines.