Shark nets will be reinstated at 51 beaches on the NSW coastline next month, despite opposition from the eight coastal councils affected.


Beaches from Stockton, Newcastle to south Wollongong are meshed with nets from September to April each year to protect swimmers and beachgoers from sharks during the busiest season for Aussie beaches.

The decision, announced by NSW Premier Chris Minns, comes despite all eight coastal councils within the shark net zone unanimously requesting the NSW Government to phase out the use of shark nets in 2022.

2022 was the first year that shark nets were used in conjunction with drone technology and other shark detection methods, however Premier Minns says the technology isn’t reliable enough yet on its own.

‘We’re not in a position at the moment where we can say hand on heart for this coming summer that these new technologies are as good a replacement as shark nets for Sydney beaches,’ he said.

However the decision to reinstall the 51 shark nets is not in line with the recently released report by the Department of Primary Industries which found that non-target species, such as turtles, rays, and dolphins, made up 90% of marine animals caught in NSW beach shark nets in the last 12 months.

Shark nets have been installed for six months a year at these beaches since the end of WWII, however attacks have still occurred during these times, with the death of Simon Nellist, a British expat, diving instructor, and opposer of shark nets, at Sydney’s Little Bay in February 2022.

‘They are 150 metres long and 6 metres high and set at a depth of 10 metres. Bondi is 1km wide,’ said Paula Masselos, the Mayor of Waverley. ‘They don’t do anything.’

Environmentalists and councils alike are pushing the NSW Government to find solutions quickly and scrap the use of shark nets immediately. To add your voice to the crowd, sign the petition put to the NSW Legislative Assembly to protect marine animals.


Feature photo by Dan Schnelle