Shark app not such a smart idea
A LENNOX Head surf coach who coached Ballina shark attack victim Sam Morgan as a youngster has ridiculed the State Government's $1.3 million shark education campaign, saying it is "rubbing salt into the surfing community's wounds".
Following a spate of shark attacks along the North Coast, the NSW Government last month announced a $16 million shark management strategy divided between surveillance and trial deterrents ($7.7 million), science and research ($7 million), and education ($1.3 million).
But Surfing Hall of Fame award recipient and surf writer Max Perrot said the $1.3 million earmarked for education sent a redundant message to surfers and other experienced ocean users.
"Most surfers are very aware of the habits of sharks," he said.
"Yet (the DPI) are putting aside $1.3 million to tell us not to surf at dawn and dusk. The thing is, this is not the case with white pointers."
The fatal attack on Tadashi Nakahara in February took place late morning on a clear blue water and sunny day.
Under the circumstances, Mr Perrot said the notion that sharks attacked mostly at dawn or dusk was no longer relevant.
"That money could be spent on more patrols. They are telling us something that we already know," he said.
In a statement the Department of Primary Industries said research showed "most shark species typically hunt during twilight hours and are naturally more active and aggressive at these times of day".
"However sharks, like most predators, will feed at any time of day, if they come across prey," the statement said.
"This is particularly true for white sharks which are known to hunt throughout the day, including at night."
The DPI said the $1.3 million would also fund an expansion of its SharkSmart app to allow real-time tracking of shark movements on a mobile phone or tablet.
"This project will be supported by the installation of up to 20 state of the art shark listening stations to help track the movements of tagged sharks and provide the data, four of which will be in North Coast waters," the DPI said in its statement.
"The Department is also looking at incorporating ... location-based services resulting in better maps, better content management without lengthy update processes and the future ability to issue alerts through a 'push notification' system."