‘Smart’ drum line “successfully deployed” off Shelley Beach
UPDATE, 2.30pm: A BAITED smart drum line was “successfully deployed” 500m east of Ballina’s Shelley Beach this morning, according to a spokeswoman from Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair’s office.
The aim of the trial was to “determine operating procedures” relating to the use of the drum lines, in particular the process for releasing sharks which hook themselves on the line.
Unlike a traditional drum line, the responsive smart drum line sounds an alert when a shark or big fish becomes hooked.
That means the potential employment of a crew around-the-clock to manage the release program operating under instructions from the Department of Primary Industries.
Release crews only have two hours to get to the animal before it dies, so midnight marine rescue missions may be required to honour the true intent of the system. That raises questions about what happens when rough seas hit the coast and the Ballina bar becomes too dangerous to cross.
The line will be retrieved at about 4.30pm to conclude the initial one-day test.
ORIGINAL: THE FIRST local field test of technologies funded under the NSW Government’s $16 million shark management strategy is underway today off Ballina.
Staff from the NSW Department of Primary Industries are testing ‘smart’ drum lines off Lighthouse Beach this morning.
The baited drum lines have built in alerts which are triggered when sharks are caught, theoretically allowing them to be released and reducing the impact on the marine ecosystem.
Today’s testing follows testing done last week in the Bellinger/Kalang River near Coffs Harbour.
A spokeswoman from the Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair’s office said it was expected the North Coast would have five of the devices once they were tested and ready for deployment.
It’s the first test of actual deterrent technologies, and follows on from the white shark tag and release project run by the Department of Industries since August, which tagged 14 sharks.