21 February 2022

World's largest shark mitigation roll-out to make our beaches safer

| Katrina Condie
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Map of drumlines to be deployed by NSW DPI for SharkSmart program

SharkSmart technology map. Image: NSW DPI.

Additional shark listening stations and SMART drumlines will be rolled out in the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley council areas as part of the largest shark mitigation program in the world.

Shark tagging will also be carried out and surf lifesavers will use drone surveillance to spot sharks near beaches and warn swimmers.

Following successful technology trials along the NSW coastline, the State Government has injected a further $21.4 million in 2021/22 to continue its evidence-based shark mitigation program, SharkSmart.

According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), the expansion of the shark program will include the scaling up of Surf Life Saving NSW’s drone surveillance program to provide more beach coverage in more Local Government Areas and an increase in coastal surveillance using shark listening stations to ensure at least one in every council area, including the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley.

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The VR4G shark listening stations alert people via Twitter and with the SharkSmart app when a tagged shark comes within 500 metres of the coast, including SLS NSW and council lifeguards.

The tagging program targets White, Tiger and Bull sharks.

SMART (Shark Management Alert in Real Time) drumline technology will be rolled out in more areas and shark tagging, research and community education programs will be increased.

The SMART technology is designed to intercept sharks that come close to shore to help make our beaches safer.

Shark caught by a drumline

SMART drumlines have proven to be the most effective tool for catching White, Tiger and Bull sharks. Photo: NSW DPI.

According to the DPI, SMART drumlines have proven to be the most effective tool for catching target sharks, minimising the catch of non-target animals and maximising the survival of all animals caught on the gear.

SMART drumlines will be rolled out to nearly every coastal council area and, when fully operational, there will be 170 devices deployed daily from Tweed to Bega, weather permitting.

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The shark mitigation program comes following the death of a man who was attacked by a shark at Malabar’s Little Bay Beach in Sydney’s east on Wednesday 16 February.

Based on footage provided by the public, DPI shark biologists believe that a White shark, at least three metres long, was likely responsible for the fatal attack.

For more details on the program, visit sharksmart.nsw.gov.au

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I’m surprised the govt hasn’t thought of mandating that sharks must QR check in, if comming closer to shore than 500 meters, and wear a mask at all times.

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