Statement Regarding New Surveillance Strategy

Surf Life Saving NSW welcomes today’s announcement by the State Government of increased surveillance and tagging technology along the Northern NSW Coastline.

The $250,000 strategy announced by the NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair on Friday includes; a North Coast focused local shark tagging project, the deployment of DPI assets to monitor the local water conditions, and ongoing dialogue with community representatives from the Ballina Shire.

“I am acutely aware of the concerns of communities on the North Coast following a spate of recent shark attacks – we want to make sure we do everything we can to help keep swimmers and surfers safe in our waters,” Minister Blair said during the announcement at Sydney’s Coogee Beach.

“Within the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), we have world-renowned shark experts who will be temporarily based on the North Coast and leading this important work.”

In addition a further $100,000 has been allocated for reviewing the success of this program. SLSNSW will play a role in ongoing community education through the SharkSmart program.

The new campaign that begins in October will see every Northern NSW surf club supplied with materials and information about the campaign.

NSW Lifesaving Manager Andy Kent hailed the decision to increase surveillance of the sharks an important step in relieving the pressure on volunteer lifesavers.

“Our volunteer lifesavers across the North Coast and Far North Coast have done an incredible job throughout winter going out on calls to confirm shark sightings and assisting other emergency responders where required.

“As the patrolling season doesn’t start for another month, these extra duties have taken a toll on our volunteers and there has been a considerable drain on our volunteer resources with increased fuel and operational costs with the increased demands on our equipment and services,” Mr Kent said.

“The reality is there is still so much we don’t know about the habits of sharks and any initiative that helps our understanding of the movements of these marine creatures should be applauded,” he concluded.

Photograph - NSW Primary Industry Minister Niall Blair addresses the media at Sydney's Coogee Beach on Friday 14 August 2015

Fri 14 Aug 2015