Over 90 animals on the protected species lists including a bottlenose dolphin and a green sea turtle were killed by newly installed shark nets in Australia’s New South Wales, a government report revealed on Tuesday.
Over 700 marine creatures were caught in the nets, with 364 killed in just a one year period, Xinhua news agency reported.
This is an increase of over 200 per cent on the numbers in the 2014-15 year, with 23 protected or threatened species killed at that time.
Greens Party member Justin Field said the shark nets should be phased out in favour of non-lethal methods.
“Laid out nose to tail, the marine animals killed by this programme including dolphins, rays, turtles and non-threatening sharks would stretch half the length of Bondi Beach,” Field said.
“The shark mesh program provides questionable protection to New South Wales swimmers and divers, but costs a fortune in terms of destruction to our wildlife and dollars spent.”
But director of the Department of Primary Industries Scott Hansen, who oversee the nets, said his department is doing everything in its power to ensure animal harm is minimised.
In a statement on Tuesday, Hansen said the rate of animal survival after being entangled had improved, and technology was making it easier to ensure the wrong marine creatures were not getting caught.
The shark net programme was extended in November last year, after increased incidences of attacks occurred along the New South wales coastline.