Operation Apex Harmony

Our Approach

Through investigation and documentation, Apex Harmony sheds much-needed light on the destructive nature of state-sanctioned shark control programs — bringing our message to the public and empowering Australians to help protect sharks and other marine life. 

Operation Apex Harmony
Defending Sharks

Over the years, we have brought transparency to Queensland and New South Wales' destructive shark bite mitigations programs. These programs have been responsible for the deaths of thousands of sharks and rays, hundreds of turtles, as well as dolphins and whales. 


Our campaign uses social media and traditional media to bring our message to the public in local areas affected by government decisions and the broader community in each state.

About the Campaign

The campaign began in 2014 when the WA Government began its controversial shark culling program.


By bringing transparency to effects of this program - and its failures - the campaign had a win when in September 2014, the Environmental Protection Authority recommended that the program cease due to its unknown environmental impacts. 


Since then, our work has focussed on bringing awareness to the destructive nature of the Shark Control Programs in both New South Wales and Queensland. 

Current Issues

The Problem in Queensland

Since 1962, the Queensland Government has been killing sharks and other marine life under the Queensland Shark Control Program (QSCP). 

While other states are upgrading to new, non-lethal shark bite mitigation technologies, Queensland is sticking with this outdated, lethal technology. 

Labor won Government in 2017 with a platform that included an undertaking of, “investigation and ongoing scientific review of non-lethal shark monitoring.” With your support, we are working to hold the Labor government to this and bring transparency to the destructive nature of the QSCP. 

In 2018, Apex Harmony undertook a 5-month trip to document the entire Queensland Shark Control Program. This trip saw our small boat Grey Nurse in the water from beaches north of Cairns to the border of New South Wales. During this trip, injured, dead and dying animals were found and reported on the drumlines from Townsville, Bargara, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

The Queensland Government implemented a 20m exclusion zone from its shark nets and drum lines in June 2019, making it even more challenging for us to bring to light what happens in their gear. 

The Problem in New South Wales

The first of New South Wales shark nets was installed in Sydney in 1937, with others gradually deployed at 51 beaches from Newcastle to Wollongong to expand the program. These shark nets are indiscriminate, outdated and ineffective, and come at a huge cost to our marine life.


Since the program's inception, over 20,000 animals have been caught in these nets, with many losing their lives. 


The Impact of Shark Nets on Migrating Whales

Every winter, the East Coast of Australia celebrates the annual migration of humpback whales travelling past. Threatening these whales are shark nets that entangle - and sometimes even kill - these iconic animals. 


The Queensland shark netting program operates year-round. In 2019 alone, five humpback whales were entangled in shark nets on the state’s shoreline. 


Following South Africa’s lead, New South Wales has recognised the killing capacity of shark nets, and as a result, remove them during the migration season. 

Around the world, shark mitigation strategies that do not harm delicate marine ecosystems are being explored. Sea Shepherd is advocating for a transition to non-lethal technologies guided by science to both increase safety and protect ocean life, such as the examples listed below. 

Aerial Drones in the Hands of Beach Safety Experts

Aerial drones can serve as an important tool for reducing the risk of shark bites on our beaches. Flying autonomously, drones can monitor beaches by continuously scanning for sharks with image recognition software.

Shark-detecting drones are already being trialled on New South Wales beaches as part of that state's shark management strategy, allowing for real-time monitoring of popular coastal areas.

Sea Shepherd is advocating for a move to equip Surf Living Saving branches with drones from Government grants. Such a program would be managed by those already expert in beach safety, utilise proven technology and be flexible enough to cover flagged beaches and surf breaks. This would provide a positive story for tourism and importantly, not harm sharks or other marine wildlife. 

Eco-Barrier Technology

Where wave energy is low and drones may not be utilised, barrier technology such as the Eco Shark Barrier, a proven Western Australian development, may be used to form a complete enclosure, from seabed to surface and protect swimmers. The unique design of the Eco Shark Barrier creates a safe swimming area that blends into its surrounding environment.


Education and outreach about shark behaviour are fundamental means of helping to protect swimmers.

By knowing that sharks are more active in certain places, like river mouths, and at dawn and dusk, the potential for encountering a shark can be minimised - helping to keep our beaches safer as well as protecting sharks. Sea Shepherd recommends signage programs in order to educate the public on shark behaviour and the low risk of shark-human interactions.

Personal Protection Devices

Personal protection devices such as the 'Shark Shield': a personal electronic device that creates an electromagnetic field may be used to deter shark incidents

Many new technologies are expensive to produce, test, and trial under scientific conditions. Therefore, Government has a role to assist in at least the scientific testing and trialling phases. Subsidies go a long way to helping reduce unit costs as the technologies become affordable on a wide scale. This has been done for a broad range of products that benefit people and industry, and should be extended to these devices. This approach can greatly benefit local developers, businesses and of course end-users.

New Technologies

New technologies are emerging, and should be explored as a means to an effective shark bite mitigation system.

Shark Spotters is one such successful program. “Shark Spotters” is a network of human spotters who spend time surveying and monitoring the ocean for shark movements. This program has great benefits for the community both in the water and ashore.