Strong evidence supports the removal of shark nets from Illawarra beaches and their replacement with drumlines, Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has said.
Cr Bradbery's motion calling for SMART (Shark Management Alert in Real Time) drumlines was passed at Monday Wollongong City Council meeting, with the Lord Mayor saying shark nets as presently used have only a six per cent success rate.
That is, 94 per cent of the marine animals caught in the nets are species other than the target sharks - rays, dolphins and others.
"In contrast, the SMART drumlines have a much higher success rate with the targeted species of sharks - and also less bycatch," Cr Bradbery told the Mercury on Wednesday evening.
"The impact on other fauna is a lot less. When they are caught, they're tagged and released, so we get a much better understanding of out threatening sharks."
Cr Bradbery said the Illawarra has not suffered the same frequency of shark attacks as some other areas, and has had successful aerial surveillance. But he said further south had been included in drumline trials, and so should the Illawarra.
"They've specifically targeted specific areas - but they were [tested] between Shell Cove and Kiama, and Ulladulla to Narrawallee, so they have been tested on the South Coast," he said.
"As far as I'm concerned, it's a no-brainer: the statistics verify that SMART drumlines are more successful."
Last year the then primary industries minister Niall Blair ruled out drumlines replacing nets in the Illawarra. But his replacement, Adam Marshall, has presided over a trial that included Newcastle and northern Sydney, and said "more analysis" was needed before decisions were made.