Beach nets off Australian coast kill hundreds of sharks

2015-08-21 12:24

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Sydney - Safety nets and hooked lines off beaches in the Australian state of Queensland killed 621 sharks over a one-year period, a report said on Friday.

The shark control programme off 82 beaches in the northern state has been running for 53 years, but was not a culling operation, Queensland's Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne told reporters in Brisbane.

"The programme is not designed to decrease the shark population. This programme is purely designed to catch sharks that are in the vicinity of popular beaches," Byrne said, the Brisbane Times reported.

The sharks were killed between July 2014 and June 2015. Nobody was killed by a shark off Queensland beaches during that period.

But the programme has been criticised for catching other sea creatures such as whales, dolphins and turtles.

Byrne said over the past 20 years 52 whales have been caught in nets, but 48 had been released alive.

The announcement comes as shark experts in the neighbouring state of New South Wales are conducting tests off the beaches north of Sydney to determine the best non-lethal method of keeping sharks away.

Surfers on the northern New South Wales beaches have called for a limited shark cull after a spate of attacks in the area in 2015, including the death of one surfer. 

Read more on:    australia  |  animals

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