INTERACTIVE: Shark net bycatch continues downward trend
STRONG swells and winds swayed shark net bycatch numbers at Ballina Shire beaches in the past month, new Department of Industries data reveals.
During the fourth month of the North Coast Shark Meshing Trial, the nets were installed between 16-26 days at five beaches: Lighthouse, Sharpes and Shellys neaches in Ballina, Seven Mile Beach, Lennox Head and Main Beach, Evans Head.
Inclement weather forced the nets from all five beaches on March 8-13 while flooding late last month resulted in the removal of four nets at Ballina and Lennox Head from March 29-April 8.
The target to check the nets twice daily was not met this month but the DPI said in its March 8- April 7 bycatch report that dangerous weather conditions may mean fewer checks are made due unsafe access.
During the fourth month, 36 animals across about 14 species were caught in the nets.
Of the 36 marine life caught, 16 were released alive and 20 animals were found dead with tissue samples caught for analysis.
A Tiger Shark was the only target species of shark caught as well as a further six 'potentially dangerous sharks'.
These included three Common Blacktip Sharks, a Dusky Whaler and two unidentified whaler sharks.
The whaler sharks and a tuna could not be positively identified to the species level due to decomposition.