Senior shark scientist Dr Vic Peddemors and CSIRO white shark tagging coordinator Barry Bruce talk to media baout the impending tagging operation in Ballina.  Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Senior shark scientist Dr Vic Peddemors and CSIRO white shark tagging coordinator Barry Bruce talk to media baout the impending tagging operation in Ballina. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

With no shark barrier, what will protect us now?

NOW the Lennox Head and Lighthouse Beach shark barriers have been discontinued, what else will protect Northern Rivers beachgoers from sharks?

The NSW Government's $16 million shark management strategy is underpinned by 21st century research and surveillance, rather than the traditional methods of netting, baiting, and fishing (all of which are culling).

Swimmers will need to rely on being in the water at the same time as a surveillance helicopter, checking their Twitter feed for tagged shark detections, or being around when a drone trial is being conducted.

Here is the breakdown of what's on offer.

Helicopter aerial surveillance

 

Rotorwing Helicopter Services spotted a 3m plus great white shark in close proximity to surfers off Boulder Beach in Ballina this morning and evacuated the water. Photo Contributed
Rotorwing Helicopter Services spotted a 3m plus great white shark in close proximity to surfers off Boulder Beach in Ballina this morning and evacuated the water. Photo Contributed Contributed

Aerial shark surveillance flights run every weekend and every day of the school holidays from South Ballina to Point Danger.

Flights usually leave around 8am so keep a lookout on the SharkSmart app, Twitter feed or Dorsal app for recorded sightings.

Drone trials

 

DRONE: A still photo of the Department of Primary Industries shark drone on trial this week.
DRONE: A still photo of the Department of Primary Industries shark drone on trial this week. Contributed

 

The NSW DPI will shortly commence a trial of surveillance drones above Evans Head and other locations across NSW.

At this stage, the drones are still in the trial phase with the DPI working out whether to use commercial operators or go down the path of training surf lifesavers.

At present, only CASA approved pilots can fly drones.

Shark tagging: Smart drumlines, and VR4G listening stations.

 

Divers installing a listening station at Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay, which will be able to monitor tagged sharks.
Divers installing a listening station at Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay, which will be able to monitor tagged sharks. NSW DPI

The NSW DPI shark tagging program has successfully tagged 47 white sharks so far.

The tags trasmit a signal which can be detected by five listening stations across the Northern Rivers, at Evans Head, Sharpes Beach, Lennox Head, Byron Bay, and Tweed Heads.

 

A map showing where tagged white sharks are moving along the east coast.  Photo Contributed
A map showing where tagged white sharks are moving along the east coast. Photo Contributed Contributed

Tagged sharks have been detected roaming as far as New Zealand, Tasmania, and South Australia.

To tag the sharks, the NSW DPI has successfully used "smart" drumlines, which are baited drum lines with alerts enabling the sharks to be tagged and released after being hooked.

No nets, no drum lines

 

NSWDPI tagging team advise 2.14m female White Shark tagged & release Boambee Beach @ Coffs using SD tech. Shark #36
NSWDPI tagging team advise 2.14m female White Shark tagged & release Boambee Beach @ Coffs using SD tech. Shark #36 Contributed

The NSW Government under Mike Baird has consistently ruled out any kind of cull of white sharks or bull sharks, including the use of meshing or drum lines.

These methods are used widely on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

They are also used off Sydney's beaches.



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