SOS Position Statement:
Lethal Shark Control Programs


SOS is opposed to any and all lethal shark control programs, including shark nets, shark culls, pre-emptive killing of sharks, and the use of drum lines.

Lethal shark control programs are designed to reduce the incidence of negative human/shark interactions. They do not, however, offer complete protection but instead work on the principle of "fewer sharks, fewer attacks".

In New South Wales, Australia, between 1937 and 2008, 17% of shark bites occurred at beaches with shark nets installed, clearly indicating the ineffectiveness of shark nets to reduce bites to humans. Also, in Hawaii, between 1959 and 1976, a cull of 4,668 sharks including 554 tiger sharks, was carried out to reduce the number of shark bite incidents, yet there was no significant decrease in the rate of shark bites after the cull.

If killing sharks is taken off the agenda, then other innovative beach safety options are possible. Lethal shark control methods should be replaced by more modern beach safety tactics. These tactics may include greater uses of signs and flags to educate the public about marine hazards and using tracking devices on sharks to determine seasonal movements. It is essential that up-to-date advice is available to the public regarding when it is safe to enter the water, what the relative risk may be, and advising against certain water related activities, such as, spear fishing, in areas known to be frequented by large sharks.



Our view on this issue is based on the most current scientific literature, where available.  However, we recognise that our knowledge of the natural world is ever changing and new discoveries are being made every day.  If you believe our position on this issues may warrant a review, based on new scientific evidence, please send us your comments and any related literature and we will endeavour to investigate and amend our position where appropriate.