The effectiveness of shark nets have been called into question after a man was fatally mauled in Sydney’s south-east.
Diving instructor Simon Nellist, 35, was swimming at Little Bay Beach in the city’s east on Wednesday afternoon when he was attacked by the shark, confirmed to be a great white by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
Mr Nellist loved the ocean but was not supportive of two safety measures.
“Shark nets and drum lines protect no one and kill all kinds of marine life each year,” Mr Nellist wrote on Facebook.
Shark nets have been rolled out since 1931 between Newcastle and Wollongong.
They span across 51 of the state’s most popular beaches including Palm Beach, Manly, Freshwater, Balmoral, Bondi, Bronte and Cronulla.
The nets are installed each year from September through to April.
The mesh is made-up of submerged fishing nets suspended in the middle of the ocean with gaps on either side.
This means the nets don’t form complete barriers for bathers.
“A shark can swim around, swim over, swim under,” Dean Cropp, an underwater filmmaker, said.
In recent months, Northern Beaches, Newcastle, Waverley, Randwick and Central Coast councils have voted in favour of removing the nets.
The councils claim they provide a false sense of security and threaten marine life.
“It’s been proven that they’re totally ineffective,” Northern Beaches Mayor Candy Bingham said.
“If you look out here, they’re 800 metres out and they’re like a handkerchief hanging in the ocean.
“They’re catching everything but sharks, turtles, dolphins, rays.”
A push is now underway to improve surf safety through technology such as drones, shark tagging, and more SMART drumlines.