The NSW Government’s Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program includes 51 beaches between Newcastle and Wollongong.

These beaches are netted by contractors using specially designed meshing nets to reduce the chances of shark encounters.

The nets do not create a total barrier between swimmers and sharks. They are designed to intercept sharks near meshed beaches, which reduces the chance of a shark interaction.

While the nets cannot provide a guarantee that a shark interaction will never happen, we believe they have been effective in greatly reducing the potential number of interactions.

Since the introduction of the shark meshing program in 1937, there have been 35 unprovoked shark interactions at meshed beaches (as of May 2023), including a fatal interaction with a white shark at Merewether Beach in 1951. Other interactions at meshed beaches include: 10 attributed to white sharks;  10 to wobbegong sharks; 9 with unknown species; 4 to unidentified whaler sharks; and 1 to a tiger shark.

The shark meshing program operates under the 2017 joint management agreement (JMA) (PDF, 287.52 KB) and a management plan (PDF, 433.05 KB), which was informed by the five-year review of the two 2009 JMAs and management plan and public consultation.

Where in NSW? North coast

Trial or research? Trial now complete

Two shark nets trials were undertaken at five beach locations on the North Coast of NSW: Lennox Head, Sharpes Beach (Ballina), Shelly Beach (Ballina) Lighthouse Beach (Ballina) and Evans Head.

Trial one was undertaken from 8 December 2016 and 30 May 2017 and trial two was undertaken from 23 November 2017 and 2 May 2018.

Research results

SMP Publications