Shark net toll counted
Official figures show animals other than sharks made up 94 per cent of the marine life caught by shark nets in NSW.
Shark nets are set up along 51 beaches from Newcastle to Sydney and Wollongong from September 1 to April 30 each year.
Results from the Department of Primary Industries 'Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program 2018/19 Annual Performance Report' (PDF), reveal that of 395 marine animals caught, only 23 were the targeted tiger, great white, and bull sharks.
The 372 non-target animals included 86 smooth hammerhead sharks, 20 Australian cownose rays, five dolphins, and 15 turtles.
A total of 238 of the netted animals died.
There were 11 shark attacks in NSW waters last year, two of which happened at netted beaches.
The shark net program has been running since 1937, and the NSW Government says it has been over 60 years since someone was killed by a shark at a netted beach.
Contractors inspect the lines every 72 hours to try to increase survival rates.
Nets have been removed and replaced with smart drumlines on some parts of the NSW north coast. The devices alert contractors as soon as a shark is captured on the gear.
The smart drumlines caught 144 target sharks and 36 non-target species, all of which were released alive.
The results have prompted the Government to test drumlines at three new previously netted beaches.