SOUTH EAST QLD surf, music, style, enviro & Politik

Rasta Calls For Shift Away From Shark Nets To Sustainable Solutions

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A stark image as shark net protestors wade out in front of the crowd at the Quiksilver Pro during the finals this week to spread their message, whilst just beyond the takeoff zone at Snapper Rocks behind them the Queensland Shark Control contractor boat checks and re-baits the drumline hooks // Photo Luke Sorensen
Well-known marine conservationist and free-surfer Dave Rastovich will lead a paddle out at Snapper Rocks tomorrow, Friday 18th March 7am QLD time, to protest against shark nets and drumlines being used along our coastline.

The message is simple – they are pushing for change by way of a better system that could reduce or eliminate the loss of non-target species and marine life (bycatch) by using the latest smart buoy technology to warn surfers about the proximity of sharks.

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Dave Rastovich reckons we should ditch the nets and get serious about better solutions that protect marine life // Photo Luke Sorensen

Rasta, a former World Junior Surfing Champion, has dedicated himself to many environmental causes including his role in the award winning documentary The Cove, which focused on the plight against the regular entrapment and slaughter of dolphins on the shores of the seaside Japanese town of Taiji, in the Wakayama Prefecture.

Rastovich has also been a strong advocate for action on climate change climate issues, joining Al Gore on the Inconvenient Truth campaign.

He will be joined by other surfers opposed to the use of shark nets and baited hooks on drumlines, and will paddle out to the shark nets and perform a ceremonial ring.

Yesterday at the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro two activists staged their own protest against shark nets during the finals at Snapper Rocks. The issue has been in the forefront of much debate following a spate of shark encounters and injuries along the Northern NSW coastline over the last 18 months.

Shark nets more than often do not hit their mark and ensnare a large number of non-target species such as rays , turtles, dolphins, pelagic fish, and in more recent years, whales // Image supplied

The NSW government has been actively seeking solutions with a wide rage of considerations included, from the full blown nets and drumlines of Queensland fame, through to so-called eco nets and passive means such as electronic deterrents.

There is no easy and simple solution the the problem of sharks and people crossing paths, however the statistics relating to shark encounters, the impacts of shark bites along with the figures of bycatch and loss of marine life often set the fuze alight at both ends.

Tonight, at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club, Dave Rasovich will join a surfing rockstar lineup to play live music at the  from 6.30pm Qld as part of a charity fundraiser.

Well known GC surfing photographer Simon ‘Swilly’ Williams has put up 11 of his poster size prints signed by the world surfing professionals such as 11-time champion Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Steph Gilmore, Rasta and others for the fundraiser.

The organisers are billing it as the ‘Surf Party of the Year’ – it is a free public event although it’s first in best dressed as the Surf Club can only hold a maximum of 350 people.

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