Shark nets to be trialled for another two years
SHARK net trials will be back in the water this month after the NSW Government was granted a second exemption to conduct shark net trials over two years between November 1 2017 and October 31 2019.
The second exemption allows for nets to be deployed ahead of the peak swimming seasons and to continue its research into shark mitigation measures over consecutive summers.
It follows a similar decision made in November 2016 to grant a 12 month exemption which expires next week.
Department of Primary Industries spokesperson said the nets can be in the water for up to six months.
The second trial will take place at the same five beaches - Lighthouse Beach (Ballina), Sharpes Beach (Ballina), Shelly Beach (Ballina), Seven Mile Beach (Lennox Head) and Evans Head.
The whale migration is currently being monitored by the DPI and the trial will commence at the end of the southward peak whale migration period.
The trials will continue to assess the catch of target sharks and bycatch of the nets against SMART drumlines used in the trial area.
The NSW Government will also use the further trials to scientifically test technical and operational modifications to mesh nets to minimise bycatch and mortality of non-target animals.
The research outcomes of the trials are expected to have broader application to other jurisdictions to inform the use and design of shark mitigation measures nation-wide.
A maximum of ten nets may be used in the trial area at any one time.
The NSW Government will put in place a range of measures to minimise impacts to the environment, including procedures to release all live fauna with the least possible harm and to avoid the deployment of mesh nets during peak whale migration.
A notice of the Government's decision to grant the exemption and reasons are available at http://epbcnotices.environment.gov.au/exemptionnotices.