EYES IN SKY: Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin and North Coast Surf Life Savers with the drones at the ready for these school holidays.
EYES IN SKY: Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin and North Coast Surf Life Savers with the drones at the ready for these school holidays.

Drones on shark watch: New technology to prevent attacks

DRONES will take to the skies during the school holidays as part of the efforts to prevent shark attacks at our beaches.

Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin said drones had proven themselves as an effective tool for detecting sharks.

He said the trial of drones at Byron Bay, Ballina, Lennox Head and Evans Head was part of the $430,000 in funding provided to Surf Life Saving NSW to give lifesavers "extra eyes in the sky this summer and deliver live vision back to the beach”.

"Surf Life Saving NSW used the funding to purchase drones and train drone pilots, which is allowing for never-before-seen shark surveillance at beaches,” Mr Franklin said.

Two of the drones will be part of mobile units fitted with a flotation device that can be dropped down to swimmers, an alarm and a loudspeaker.

Up to nine beaches will have the smaller drones fitted with Shark Spotter technology and will fly each morning.

Mr Franklin said this innovative technology was again proving to be a genuine lifesaver in our communities and an essential piece of equipment on our beaches.

"Drones not only benefit locals but also the thousands of tourists who flock to the North Coast's pristine beaches each year, giving them some extra assurance when they head to the beach these school holidays,” Mr Franklin said.

The drones will complement helicopter aerial surveillance already under way on the North Coast for both the Queensland and NSW school holidays.

The NSW Government is also continuing trials of SMART drumlines every day, weather permitting, between Evans Head and Lennox Head on the North Coast, and at Kiama and Ulladulla on the South Coast.

"It's great to see the benefits of all these measures stemming from the government's $16m Shark Management Strategy now flowing back into our local tourism. I know businesses are feeling more confident as people return to our iconic beaches,” Mr Franklin said.

Information on sharks is relayed from helicopters to the local beach authorities and the SharkSmart App and @NSWSharkSmart on Twitter.



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