Shark nets to be removed early

NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair has today announced that the NSW Government will begin removing all five nets from the North Coast Shark Net Trial.

The trial nets at Lighthouse Beach (Ballina), Sharpes Beach (Ballina), Shelly Beach (Ballina), Seven Mile Beach (Lennox Head) and Evans Head Beach have been in the water for almost six months.

Mr Blair said the decision to end the trial two weeks earlier than anticipated, follows an increase in whale sightings along the NSW coastline.

"While we are ending the trial slightly earlier, we now have almost six months' worth of data for our shark scientists to analyse," Mr Blair said.

"This week, DPI will also begin deploying an additional 10 SMART drumlines (weather pending), bringing the total number of SMART drumlines to 35 on the North Coast.

"Over the past five months SMART drumlines have caught 29 target sharks, with all but one being tagged and released alive - that compares to only six target sharks caught in the nets.

"The research from this trial is world-class and will provide great insight to researchers, not only in NSW, but right across the world."

A community survey is underway to seek feedback on the trial, which is taking place via the internet, the phone, or at one of DPI's community drop-in stands - the online survey is available until 5pm, May 31, through the DPI website.

Helicopters will continue to operate every weekend on the North Coast and daily flights and drones will re-commence during the July school holidays.

The NSW Government will make a decision on the future of the nets in early spring, following consultation with the community, scientists and the Commonwealth.


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