New shark research project announced
BALLINA MP Tamara Smith has welcomed new, local shark management research announced today by the Department of Primary Industries.
Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair, has appointed three co-funded PhD students to conduct research into shark behaviour, shark surveillance and SMART drumline technology on the NSW north coast.
The three students - Andrew Colefax, Ricky Tate and James Tucker - have received three-year scholarships funded at $26,000 annually through Southern Cross University and the State Government as part of its $16 million Shark Management Strategy.
Ms Smith is eager to see the research commence along the North Coast, particularly in her electorate.
"We know that the quality of marine research coming out of Southern Cross University is world class and this opportunity will place these students on the world stage to develop best practice shark management in a field that we know so little about," Ms Smith said.
"This is an incredible boom for our region and goes to show the calibre of marine scientists at our university."
Mr Colefax is working to improve shark surveillance using drones with further research to include exploring opportunities for quantifying shark movements as well as using special cameras and algorithms for detecting sharks.
Refining SMART drum-line methodology is at the centre of Ricky Tate's project which will include assessing baits and gear set-up and analyse sharks behaviours during the capture process.
James Tucker will research whether sharks could be attracted to the surf zone by the current practice of burying stranded whales on beaches.
The project will investigate whether groundwater leachate from buried whale carcasses seeps into the ocean and its potential to attract sharks.