A female white shark caught on SMART drumlines at Main Beach, Evans Head.
A female white shark caught on SMART drumlines at Main Beach, Evans Head.

Sharks not hanging around after getting hooked

A SIX month trial of SMART drumlines at NSW beaches has shown researchers great white sharks that are hooked are not hanging around after they are released.

The SMART drumlines are still being trialled in the water at Ballina, Lennox Head and Evans Head beaches but finished off Coffs Harbour-Sawtell and Forster-Tuncurry beaches this week after six months of data was collected.

DPI's Fisheries Research Director, Dr Natalie Moltschaniwskyj said SMART drumline have been deployed daily (weather permitting) at these destinations since August.

"Preliminary findings from the trial suggest once tagged the sharks - mostly juveniles and sub-adults - then stay in deeper offshore waters for up to four weeks before rejoining their counterparts in their general movements north and south," Dr Moltschaniwskyj said. 

"The other important finding is that there is no such thing as a residential shark.

"Most individuals appear to hang around for a day or so, but then they move on."  

SMART drumlines send a message to researchers when a shark takes the baited hook under a float.

Sharks are then fitted with an acoustic tag and released one kilometre off the beach and tracked using satellite and listening stations. 

From August to December 2017, 59 great white sharks have been tagged and released off Ballina, Lennox and Evans Head beaches.

Across NSW 320 white, bull and tiger sharks have been tagged and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair says the trial has provided invaluable insight for scientists.

"SMART drumlines are helping keep our beaches safer by intercepting on the seaward side of the surd break while also providing vital insights for both our scientists and our beachgoers on shark movements and their behaviour in NSW waters" Mr Blair said. 

"We want to make sure we are continually testing the science and trialling world-first technology, while keeping our local communities part of the conversation.  

"We will now work to analyse these results to inform how we may continue to use this technology across the State."

"We want to make sure we are continually testing the science, trialling world-first technology, while keeping our local communities part of the conversation," he said.



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