The Newcastle trial began on 3 February at Stockton−Merewether with 10 SMART drumlines deployed for 19 days. Environmental conditions determined how long SMART drumlines were deployed on any given day, ranging from 7:41h to 12:34. On average, SMART drumlines were deployed daily for 10:40h.


During February 2019, no target sharks were caught. Two non-target animals including one Dusky Whaler and one Common Blacktip Shark were caught (Table 1).

The Common Blacktip Shark died despite the contractor arriving at the SMART drumline within 11 minutes of the alert and secured 4 minutes later. The animal was hooked in the mouth but its stomach was everted into the buccal cavity when the contractor arrived, indicating a stress response from capture. This is the first instance this has been reported in more than 25,000 sets of the SMART drumlines since trials began in December 2015. All other sharks were released alive.


There were no alerts where the contractor responded and didn’t have an animal on a line.

One SMART drumline failed to set off an alert at Stockton Beach, Newcastle on 5 February 2019. When the contractor arrived at the respective drumline for retrieval at the end of the day, a Dusky Whaler was found alive on the line (Table 1). The trigger was still intact and failed to dislodge. The shark was tagged and released immediately.

The other animal triggered an alert to the DPI contractor who responded and were at the SMART drumline within 11 minutes.

Table 1: The date and time of capture of species and their sizes (total length in m), sex, and status caught in February 2019.

Beach name




Size (TL) and sex


Stockton - Merewether


Stockton Beach



Dusky Whaler

1.0; Female


Nobbys Beach



Common Blacktip Shark

2.3; Male


*No alert. Time is when the contractor arrived to pick up the gear at the end of the day.