North Coast 'leads the country' in shark mitigation
SURF life savers on the North Coast will be well-equipped this summer to protect beachgoers from sharks with a $14,000 grant to build their arsenal of technology.
The NSW Government and Surf Life Saving NSW yesterday announced the addition of two drones and equipment for shark incident response, including shark alarms and PA systems, megaphones, and lifesaving heavy-duty trauma kits.
Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said NSW was "leading the country" in shark mitigation with the balance between "beachgoer safety and impacts on marine life" through new technologies.
"We are working with Surf Life Savers on the ground to make sure they have every tool available to be able to communicate what we're seeing on the water."
Parliamentary Secretary and NSW Nationals candidate for Ballina, Ben Franklin said the more eyes and alerts we have the better off the community.
"Today's announcement compliments the Government's existing measures which includes helicopters, drones, 35 SMART drumlines and VR4G listening stations.
"Our shark tagging program is the largest in the world and allows our scientists to understand more about the movement and ecology of target sharks."
CEO of Surf Life Saving NSW, Steven Pearce said that safety for beachgoers is the number one priority.
"Additional drones will assist lifeguards in identifying any potential risks in the water as quickly as possible and reduce the risk of potential shark interactions," Mr Pearce said.
"It's important that all beachgoers take beach safety seriously this summer - remember to always swim between the flags, avoid swimming at dawn or dusk or in murky waters and don't surf or swim alone - always buddy up."
Drones will be trialled at nine beaches this Summer including: Kingscliff, Main Beach Byron Bay, The Pass, Suffolk Park, Lennox Head, Sharpes Beach, Shelly Beach, Lighthouse Beach and Evans Head.
The additional observation and awareness measures include:
- shark alarms and PA systems in the Ballina SLSC and Shelly Beach ATV's (all-terrain vehicle)
- a shark alarm and PA system and a screen and HDMI remote sender in the Ballina UAV rescue vehicle
- a shark Alarm at Ballina Surf Club
- Six hand held meg-a-phones with siren capabilities (shark alarm) for the rescue vehicles, Ballina, Lennox Heads Surf Clubs as well as the Shelly Beach Facility
- Six rapid battery drone chargers for all drones and rescue vehicles
- Trauma / haemorrhage kits for Ballina and Lennox Head Surf Clubs as well as the Shelly Beach Facility, and for three rescue vehicles
The NSW Government has now tagged more than 400 target sharks through its Smart Drumline program.