Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, Ben Franklin, announced today that a third trial of shark nets will not be run on the north coast this summer, following local community consultation which revealed support for shark nets had declined.
“Up to 35 SMART drumlines would continue to be trialled daily, from Lennox Head to Evans Head, weather permitting, until mid-2020 while trials of helicopter and drones for aerial surveillance, and VR4G listening stations would continue under the NSW Government’s five year $16 million Shark Management Strategy,” Mr Franklin said.
“This is a win for the local community who have been vocal about their opposition to shark net trials on the north coast.
“The NSW Government originally responded to calls from the local community to trial shark nets following a spate of shark attacks in the region.
“Two shark net trials have been conducted and while there were no shark attacks at netted beaches during both trials, a survey of the community found that the resulting bycatch of the trials was unacceptable.
Mr Franklin said he’d been working closely with the Minister to get the right outcome for the community.
“We will continue to work with the community on this issue and I note the Minister will also have the ability to deploy nets or to issue authorisations for further trials on the North Coast if the he is of the opinion that shark activity has increased,” Mr Franklin said.
The NSW Government’s shark tagging program is the largest in the world with 291 White Sharks, 38 Tiger Sharks and 61 Bull Sharks being actively tracked by DPI scientists.
“Shark tracking is giving scientists and beachgoers more insight than ever before into shark movements,” Mr Franklin said.
“These tagged sharks are tracked on NSW’s network of 21 listening stations located up and down the coast from Merimbula to Tweed Heads.
“In two years, there have been more than 26,000 shark detections on these listening stations which have then been communicated to water users via the SharkSmart app.
“Gauging public opinion has been an important part of the discussion about shark net trials on the North Coast, and the NSW Government is doing all it can to ensure beachgoers are safe this summer.”