Shark nets and tags

4th June 2019


The Hon. MARK PEARSON (16:42): My question is directed to the Hon. Bronwyn Taylor, representing the Minister for Agriculture and Western New South Wales, the Hon. Adam Marshall. It concerns the use of shark nets in New South Wales waters. TheShark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program 2017/18 Annual Performance Report states that of the 403 animals entangled in the nets during the reporting period, 369—or 92 per cent—were non‑target animals. They included 20 grey nurse sharks, of which 10 were released alive. The grey nurse shark is one of Australia’s most endangered marine species, so it is essential that we know whether those animals survived after being entangled in the nets. TheShark Meshing Program 2017/18 Trigger Point Review Report states that released grey nurse sharks should be tagged with pop‑up satellite archival tags from early 2019 onwards to measure—

The Hon. Damien Tudehope: Point of order: While I understand the point of the question, the manner in which it has been framed is argumentative, in that it is providing a detailed description of the point that the member wants to make. The member should be directed to ask a question and not to give an argumentative description of factual material which gives rise to the question.

The PRESIDENT: The point of order is that the question contains argument. The member has only three seconds left to ask his question. I will allow him to finish asking his question in the last three seconds; then I propose to look at the question and rule on it. I do not wish to take too much of question time. The member has three seconds to complete his question.

The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is whether tags were attached to grey nurse sharks this year— [Time expired.]

The PRESIDENT: I refer members to a past ruling of then President Johnson in 1986, which was cited by then President Harwin in 2007 and by me in 2018. It is a lengthy ruling: to summarise, a question should be specific; it can contain a little bit of foundation; it should not, of course, become a speech or debate; and it should not contain argument. I do not believe the question asked by the Hon. Mark Pearson contains argument. It is quite lengthy; much of the foundation probably was not necessary. It is up to the Minister how she answers a question. If the Minister believes that she can answer the question or take it on notice, I will allow the question this time. I indicate to the Hon. Mark Pearson that he needs to shorten his questions in future.

The Hon. BRONNIE TAYLOR (Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women) (16:47): I thank the honourable member for his question and for his commitment to sharks. As the question relates to a Minister in another House, I will take it on notice and get back to the member in a timely manner.

Government response 6th August 2019:

In reply to the Hon. MARK PEARSON (4 June 2019).

The Hon. BRONNIE TAYLOR (Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women)—The Minister provided the following response:

The Department of Primary Industries [DPI] has not historically tagged grey nurse sharks. In 2018, the Fisheries Scientific Committee requested that DPI collect data about grey nurse sharks that have been caught and released from nets.

One grey nurse shark caught at Bondi was tagged with a pop-up satellite archival tag on 11 February 2019. These tags do not monitor movement for 10 years like those for target species (Whites, Tigers, and Bulls), instead they are short term indicators of post-release survival. After a designated time, the tags automatically “pop-off” the shark, float to the surface and transmit a location signal so that they can be collected.

Similar tagging will continue in the 2019/20 shark meshing season.