10 April, 2019

The weather may be cooling down but that won’t stop thousands of people from hitting the beach these school holidays.

The NSW Government is encouraging beachgoers in NSW to be proactive with their safety, especially when it comes to sharks, NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSWDPI) Director Fisheries Research, Dr Natalie Moltschaniwskyj said.

“The NSW Government continues to trial an extensive array of technology with the latest advancements in shark mitigation technology in the air, on the water, and on the ground to reduce the risk of shark bites,” Dr Moltschaniwskyj said.

“NSW is leading the world in trials of SMART Drumlines, which are both a shark mitigation tool and a research tool, that reduce the risk of interactions with sharks while minimising the impact on marine species.

“Each day until 30 June 2020 up to 35 SMART drumlines are deployed on the North Coast between Lennox Head and Evans Head, weather dependent. Other trials using 10 SMART drumlines are also underway until 30 April 2019 between Stockton and Merewether; Palm Beach and Newport; Dee Why and Manly; Bega River and Tathra; and Short Point and Pambula.

“We are also using detection technologies, including aerial surveillance using helicopters and drones to observe sharks, anddetecting tagged sharks through our network of 21 satellite linked listening stations (VR4G). When sharks are observed or detected, alerts are posted on our SharkSmart app and Twitter.

“Helicopter aerial surveillance will be flown every day (weather permitting) as part of the Strategy trials from South Ballina to Point Danger from 6-28 April, and from 13-28 April in five other regions: South Sawtell to Wooli; Port Macquarie to Nambucca; Birubi to Crowdy Head; Moruya to South Wollongong; and Twofold Bay to Bega River. Helicopter aerial surveillance will also occur in the shark meshing region from South Wollongong to Stockton on weekends and public holidays from 13-28 April 2019.

“Our collaborative trials of drones with Surf Life Saving NSW (SLS NSW) are continuing these holidays at 15 beaches between Kingscliff and Avoca, and SLS NSW are continuing to help DPI to push the SharkSmart message.”

For surfers, in addition to the messages of not surfing amongst baitfish, or when the water is turbid, or at dawn and dusk, it also includes considering the use of personal shark deterrents when surfing.

The NSW Government is committed to keeping swimmers and surfers as safe as possible from sharks.

Some fundamental SharkSmart safety tips include:

  • Don’t swim or surf at dawn or dusk as many sharks feed at this time
  • Consider using a Personal Deterrent Device
  • Swim between the flags
  • Don’t surf or swim alone – always buddy up
  • Be aware if you see diving birds and baitfish, sharks may be present, leave the water
  • Avoid sandbars, river mouths and steep drop-offs – sharks could be present
  • Don’t swim or surf in murky waters
  • Surfers: check conditions and assess the risks
  • Respect the ocean – sharks are important for healthy seas

Further information about sharks can be found at the Department’s website www.sharksmart.nsw.gov.au/

Phone: (02) 6391 3686