Shark monitoring could stop off NSW coastline
THE monitoring of sharks along the NSW coast could be coming to an end, as the Department of Primary Industries reassesses the value of the research.
Since August 2015, the DPI has monitored and researched shark movements up and down the NSW coastline.
In a statement, the DPI explained the Shark Management Strategy, which aimed to increase "knowledge about the movement and ecology of white, tiger, and bull sharks", could cease in June.
"The strategy has included trials of shark surveillance technologies, including drones and helicopters, as well interception technology such as SMART drumlines," the statement said.
"With the close of the peak swimming season on the North Coast, and the end of the Easter school holidays, helicopter surveillance has concluded for the winter as planned.
"Other shark surveillance strategies, such as SMART drumlines and listening stations, will continue until the end of June.
"The NSW Government will be looking at the findings of the Shark Management Strategy very closely and assessing the best steps going forward."
Ballina MP Tamara Smith said it was "disappointing" the government had not consulted with the community about proposed changes.
"My understanding is that the SMART drumlines off our coast have mostly been useful for increasing the knowledge of shark behaviour for the marine scientists who tag and release sharks once they are on the hook," Ms Smith said.
"Most surfers will surf regardless of what is or isn't in place.
"But for families and young surfers and for surfers who want some extra safety we want them to have a choice."
But Ballina Shire mayor David Wright said the council would be writing to the state government to work out a "new agreement" to ensure people feel safe.
"Our biggest concern is they're saying they'll check on research and they don't really need SMART drumlines for research because they've got enough material," he said.
"But we want to make sure people feel safe when they can come here on holidays and they can be protected.
"The same goes for locals."
Cr Wright said he also can't see the reasoning behind dropping the program.
"The minister promised me it would continue but that was last year and before COVID-19," he said.
"I personally don't believe they could afford to politically drop it.
"It's not just Ballina, now it's every beach from Tweed down.
"In the meantime we'll keep working on it."