Second shark net trial to go ahead for Summer 2017/18 on North Coast

Beachgoers on the NSW north coast will have an extra line of defence this summer as shark nets are deployed for a second time. 

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said the latest trial would provide more data to address some of the issues raised by the community.

“The results from the first trial showed the community felt safer, however they remain concerned about the levels of by-catch,” Mr Blair said. 

The safety of beachgoers remains our number one priority but we have undertaken a review of the first trial and made some modifications in a bid to reduce by-catch.

“It can be difficult to get the balance right, but I hope these modifications reduce entanglements of non-target species this summer. The second trial will provide more data to inform long-term decisions on the future of the nets.”

The nets will have a larger mesh size and will sit closer to the surface. Once again, the nets will be fitted with dolphin ‘pingers’ and whale alarms.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is also opening today a community drop-in stand at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach to inform and educate the public about the six month trial.

Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast, Ben Franklin said the benefits of the State’s Shark Management Strategy were flowing with local tourism improving and beaches proving popular again.

“Nets won’t be the only defence in place, we have up to 35 SMART drumlines deployed daily (weather permitting), as well as aerial surveillance,” Mr Franklin said.

“We are using the best technology available in the world to increase protection for beachgoers here in NSW.”

The beaches are Seven Mile Beach (Lennox Head), Lighthouse, Sharpes and Shelly beaches (Ballina) and Evans Head and the trial will be undertaken in accordance with State and Commonwealth approvals.