The Conversation has an interesting article on the history of shark nets in Australia. The article, written by Christopher Neff, focuses primarily on the use of shark nets in the waters of New South Wales and gives a bit of history about how the nets first came to be. Neff also touches on the politics associated with the nets and the effectiveness of them in protecting humans from shark attacks.
Neff questions the effectiveness of shark nets noting that from 1937-2008 of the recorded shark attacks in New South Wales, 63% of them occurred at beaches using shark nets. He also points out that only one fatal attack has occurred at a netted beach in the state, but cautions that associating low fatality rates with the nets might be questionable, as there was a three year period in which the nets were removed and no fatalities were reported.
While the Neff certainly seems to lean in the direction of opposing the nets he admits that the issue of Australia’s shark nets is not a simple matter. Neff stresses the need for public safety measures and points out that the consequences from shark attacks can be “terrible.” However, he notes that public dialog and education are necessary to move away from outdated tactics that are leaving Australia behind.
You can check Neff’s full article at The Conversation.