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Our Community Hand-Delivered 300 Letters to Chris Minns, Urging an End to Shark Nets

Today, the Animal Justice Party community hand-delivered over 300 individually signed letters to AJP MP Emma Hurst at NSW Parliament, calling for immediate legislative action to ban shark nets in New South Wales waters. The letters, representing the voices of concerned community members, have been passed on to Premier Chris Minns.

The Party's community highlighted concerns regarding shark nets, which are seen not only as ineffective but also as deadly to marine life.

The letters were collected during a recent weekend of action, where 300 locals eagerly signed at Terrigal Beach on the Central Coast and Bar Beach in Newcastle. Volunteers from the Animal Justice Party engaged beachgoers, emphasising the urgent need to address this critical issue.

"Shark nets kill," stated Emma Hurst MP. "We recently passed a motion in Parliament to keep shark nets out of the water - meaning we are closer than ever to an end to shark nets. Lifeguards save lives - shark nets kill. Getting rid of these nets is an obvious decision. Recent research has even shown that these killer nets are not effective at protecting human lives in the water. There are plenty of non-lethal technologies that are far more effective – we must make sure that 2024 is the year we move to those safer and kinder alternatives."

The NSW Labor Government is being critised for ignoring community concerns about the severe threat shark nets pose to local marine animals. A 2022 survey by the Department of Primary Industries found that residents of NSW and ACT favour drone surveillance (75%) over traditional shark nets. The AJP says that despite this clear preference for modern, non-lethal methods, the Government continues to deploy shark nets, revealing a troubling disconnect between policy decisions and public opinion.

The dimensions of these nets are troublingly small - only 150 metres wide by 6 metres deep - positioned in approximately 10 metres of water, 500 metres from the shoreline. Research shows that these nets fail to provide an effective barrier, allowing sharks to swim over, under, or around them. A Bond University study found that 40% of sharks caught were on the 'beach side' of the nets, on their way back out to sea.

Currently, shark nets are deployed at 51 beaches between Wollongong and Newcastle. The 2022-23 DPI annual report revealed the devastating impact on marine biodiversity, with 228 animals entangled in NSW nets from 1 September 2022 to 30 April 2023. Alarmingly, 89% of these were non-target animals, and 26% of those were endangered or threatened species.

The Animal Justice Party remains steadfast in its mission to end the use of shark nets and advocates for the adoption of more humane and effective alternatives to protect both marine life and human swimmers.

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