TAKING ITS TOLL: Death of a baby dolphin in nets has reignited the debate.
TAKING ITS TOLL: Death of a baby dolphin in nets has reignited the debate. Contributed

Baby dolphin dies after getting trapped in shark nets

A KAYAKER who witnessed a trapped baby dolphin dying in shark nets off Mooloolaba on Sunday morning has questioned the true value of the nets.

Chris Finch admitted he was no expert on shark net operations, but seeing a baby dolphin dying virtually before his eyes has got him thinking.

"If they get stuck in the nets, they pretty much drown and die in their own environment," he said.

Mr Finch was out for a morning paddle off the beach near the Loo with View, when he noticed what looked like an adult dolphin splashing near the nets. When he came closer, it swam away, but he realised the juvenile dolphin was trapped.

"I pulled the net up to see if it could get out, by the time I got closer I saw it was not moving and it was dead," he said.

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Mr Finch paddled back to the Mooloolah River and advised a lifesaver on a jet ski, who was heading out for morning patrols.

"I went out for a nice early morning paddle on a Sunday, and that's how my day started."

Mr Finch suggested the nets were only partially protecting the beaches, and seemed to trap some marine animals while failing to catch others.

"It's just a couple of hundred metres, and that's it, and you know how long the beach is, so anything can get around it, I just don't know how effective they actually are," Mr Finch questioned.

Queensland Shark Control Program manager Jeff Krause said the safety of swimmers was priority.

"Human safety must come first, but it's about getting the balance right - which is why we use a number of measures to reduce entanglements of non-target marine animals," Mr Krause said.

"A number of methods are in place to reduce dolphin interaction with Queensland shark control equipment."



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