The DPI wants your opinion on shark nets
THE NSW Department of Primary Industries has launched public consultation on the planned rollout of shark nets on North Coast beaches.
It's first step is to ask North Coast residents to complete an online survey canvassing community views on the controversial initiative.
Deputy director of the DPI Fisheries Dr Geoff Allan said survey was part of the "ongoing discussion” with the community about available measures to reduce the risk of shark bites.
"The Government understands this is an issue that generates strong feelings, and we're committed to finding solutions that reduce the risk for beachgoers while respecting community wishes in regard to environmental impacts,” he said.
"In light of the extraordinary circumstances we've witnessed in this area over the past 12 months, we need to prioritise the safety of our community.
"To do that most effectively it's important for us to understand community views on this matter, so I would encourage everyone to make those views known via the survey.”
The six-month trial will use the same type of nets already in use from Newcastle to Wollongong under the NSW Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program, which has been in operation since 1937.
The 150m long nets are 6m deep with 60cm mesh, and are typically placed about 500m offshore and parallel to the beach near surf-clubs or patrolled swimming areas.
Shark nets are not a barrier system and do not create an enclosed area to separate swimmers from sharks.
They are designed to reduce the likelihood of shark interactions by catching large, potentially dangerous sharks aggregating near the netted beach.
The nets are fitted with 'whale alarms' and 'dolphin pingers' to deter marine mammals from the netted area.
The online survey is available on the DPI website at dpi.nsw.gov.au/sharks until 5pm, 6 November 2016.