Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans

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Shark nets: killers of all marine life….

A shark in a shark net (picture: ABC Australia)

Shark nets are a human protection idea dating from the 1950s. It’s time to acknowledge they don’t work, and instead do much harm to other marine species.

Governments could beter modernise their approach to protecting ocean users from the low risk of shark encounters, by removing shark nets and instead investing funds on educational awareness programs and further research on how best we can help avoid encounters with sharks (see also our post “Be Shark Smart – Always” –

It is assumed that 35–50% of the sharks are entangled from the beach side, nets do not keep sharks away from beaches. And there has never been evidence that they had a positive influence on the number of shark incidents. Nets mainly seems to serve as psychological barriers, and are not really there for safety reasons.

Drowned turtle in a shark net (picture credit unknown)

And time after time marine life is caught in shark nets: turtles and marine mammals drown when entangled in the nets, sharks and other fish die.
This week, a baby whale died in the nets, while its mother watched… To prevent this, the nets should at least be removed during whale migration…


Drowned whale calf (picture: Olaf Meynecke)



In South Africa, the nets have been responsible for the death of over 33,000 sharks in the last thirty years, and less than 12% were targeted species (whites, zambezi sharks, tiger sharks). 25,000 harmless sharks were killed that did not pose any threat to bathers. However, their deaths do pose a threat to the health of the environment – and the economy. On a global scale, it could be that the nets are only ‘minor killers’. But isn’t it about time, we really start to respect marine life and avoid useless killing?



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