Shark sightings trigger alarm test

MINUTES after a large great white shark jumped from the water in front of three surfers at Evans Head's Main Beach on Thursday, shark alarms being installed had their first test run.

Richmond Valley Mayor Ernie Bennett said the alarm at the surf club, due to be commissioned on November 16, had just been installed.

"Yesterday when the shark sighting happened they were there at the surf club fitting the alarm and they had just finished when it was set off," he said.

People in the area were unsure what the unfamiliar sound was, Cr Bennett said.

"When it's launched we will be putting signs around so that the general public will know there's alarms and read the signs," he said.

Alarms will be installed at the surf club, the Marine Rescue base at Razorback Lookout, and a public shark alert button will be installed at the beach.

"The button that the general public push will be connected to an intercom system connected directly to a control room," Cr Bennett said.

"Once the control room determines the shark alert alert is genuine they will trigger the alarms and call the relevant authorities."

Richmond Valley Council signed a five-year contract for the alarm system, which is worth $32,850.

"That's an annual cost of $6570 for the system to operate 365 days per year and council chose to lease the system so it can be upgraded as technology changes," Cr Bennett said.

There is speculation a large dead turtle washed up on Evans Head's Airforce Beach may have attracted the shark.

Cr Bennett said council staff went to the beach yesterday to remove the rotting carcass. If you see any dead animals on Richmond Valley beaches call council on 6660 0300.

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