Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos calls to ditch shark nets from NSW beaches

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Numerous councils and state MPs are lobbying the NSW government to go without shark nets this summer for the first time in almost 100 years.

Waverly Council Mayor, Paula Masselos, is one of the people calling for the removal of the sharks nets on Bronte and Bondi beaches because they “aren’t very effective.”

“The nets are only 150 metres long, they are six metres high and they are put at a depth of about 10 metres. So sharks in fact can swim around, under and over them,” Mayor Masselos said in an interview with Sky News Australia.

“The reality is that Bondi is 1000 metres, Bronte is 220 metres, so shark nets really aren’t actually very effective I don’t think in actually stopping the sharks from coming in.”

The Mayor also stressed that the local community was “very concerned about the bycatch” in shark nets, with statistics from 2019 showing that “only 19 sharks that were actually dangerous to humans were caught in the nettings.”

“There were more than 140 non-target sharks and other marine species such as dolphins, dugongs and turtles that were actually caught in these nets,” she added.

The state government’s shark net program aims to deter three species of sharks – the tiger, white and bull shark – but the nets’ efficacy has been debated for years. 

Mayor Masselos said Waverly Council favoured other shark mitigation options and would be introducing drones for lifeguards to have more comprehensive surveillance of beaches.

“The use of technology to monitor shark movements is a much better option to keep our swimmers and surfers safe while protecting threatened marine species,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“The reality is we are in a marine environment and we share it.”

The push to remove nets comes six months after diving instructor Simon Nellist, 35, was fatally mauled by a shark at unprotected Little Bay in NSW.

READ MORE: Labor Councillor, Paula Masselos, first woman of Greek heritage to be elected Mayor of Waverley.

Source: Sky News and The Sydney Morning Herald.

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