DRONES will soon be seen in the skies above several North Coast beaches as a part of the NSW Government's $16 million Shark Management Strategy.
After completing preliminary trials at Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and Port Macquarie earlier this year, the NSW Department of Primary Industries will kick off the next phase by using drones at five locations simultaneously - including three locations on the North Coast.
The drones will be launched next week at Evans Head, Lennox Head, Ballina, Red Head and Kiama.
The pilots will be located near each of the surf clubs at these locations.
The trials are testing the effectiveness of drone technology in reducing shark attacks by feeding images back to the operator in real time, using GPS coordinates.
Flights will be conducted every Thursday, Friday and Sunday for a one-hour timeframe in the morning over a three-month period.
The drones will fly a 3.5-4km circuit over the ocean at a height of 60m and at a speed of 40km per hour.
The commercial pilots who have been contracted are all CASA-certified and are highly experienced.
If any of the commercial pilots see a potentially dangerous shark, beach authorities will be advised and the drone team will sound the shark alarm at the local surf club.