Minister urges patience on solving North Coast shark problem

THE NORTH Coast can expect to see new shark deterrent technology trialled this summer, NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair has said.

Mr Blair was speaking at the North Coast Shark Forum at Lennox Head Primary School on Friday night, where more than 200 people came hoping to find out about what might be done to improve public safety in the wake of a shocking year for shark attacks. 

While no measures were announced, Mr Blair did make the pledge that trials of new technology would be underway by summer in NSW.

Those trials would not involve "old era" technology of drum lines or meshing, but modern, untried methods which don't cause damage to the marine environment.

Mr Blair was joined by marine experts from the Department of Primary Industries who spoke about why the white sharks might be congregating in the region. 

Marine experts showcased a range of technologies and research at the North Coast Shark Forum on Friday October 16, attended by more than 200 people. Photo: Hamish Broome / The Northern Star
Marine experts showcased a range of technologies and research at the North Coast Shark Forum on Friday October 16, attended by more than 200 people. Photo: Hamish Broome / The Northern Star

The DPI's Dr Paul Butcher said it was a "very unusual" year for bait schools on the North Coast and "we still believe when these bait schools disappear the sharks will too". 

He said researchers had spotted whale species who usually frequent only deep waters much closer to shore. 

Surfers were also advised by Dr Butcher and shark expert Dr Vic Peddemors to not surf near large baitfish schools. 

"It's your choice (but) you are heightening the risk," Dr Butcher said.

Mr Blair said there would be no "one size fits all" solution to the shark problem and more than one technology would be trialled. He said there was no "definitive answer" to the spike in shark sightings and attacks.



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