The NSW Government has announced new shark monitoring measures will start today to protect north coast communities following a spate of attacks in recent months.
The $250,000 campaign will involve water surveillance by experts as well as the tagging and tracking of sharks in order to better understand their behaviour.
A surfer was mauled to death in the area in February and 11 others have been attacked in the months since.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the new campaign would better inform and protect the public.
“This is about providing certainty and confidence back to the communities up there that have been facing these shark incidents of the recent months,” he said.
“What this announcement does is provides a measured, scientific-based approach to protect those communities and to allow all of us to do what we love doing and that’s go to the beach.
“Let’s not forget the ocean is the domain of the shark.
“However, this Government is taking action to gain a better understanding of the local risks and how they can be reduced to help inform and protect the public.”
World-renowned shark experts from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will be temporarily based on the North Coast to lead this work.
The department will also have boats monitoring local conditions, including schools of bait fish and current and water temperature trends, while a “shark smart” program will aim to educate the public.
The State Government said it had allocated $100,000 for a review, to be completed next month, of new shark control technologies including deterrents and barriers.
It comes a day after Ballina Mayor David Wright said he had been pressuring the DPI and the Government to assist his council and others hit by the recent attacks.
Mr Wright said today that the situation was unprecedented.
“This will give our public and our board riders and businesses a lot of hope,” he said.
“At least they’ll be up here and they’ll come up with a solution.
“I’m quite certain they won’t leave us with the sharks.”
On Monday, north coast surfers made national news in their call for a shark cull, a measure Premier Mike Baird ruled out.
Dr Geoff Allen, the deputy director-general of DPI Fisheries, will report to the local community and the Government early next year.