People will be given a chance to see the latest tool in the NSW government’s shark mitigation arsenal first-hand during community drop-in sessions planned for the coming days.
Ten drumlines will be deployed off Illawarra beaches between Shell Cove and Kiama early next month as part of the government’s ever-expanding, multimillion-dollar shark management strategy.
The SMART (Shark Management Alert in Real Time) drumlines trial will allow the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to tag and track dangerous sharks.
A further 10 SMART drumlines will be tested between Ulladulla and Narrawallee, in the Shoalhaven. Those drumlines are expected to be installed early in November.
The SMART technology rollout follows the successful use of drumlines on the state’s North Coast and complements the five VR4G shark listening stations floated off Kiama, Sussex Inlet, Mollymook, Batemans Bay and Merimbula last year.
As was the case with the listening stations, the regions’ inclusion in the drumline program was determined using historical data on shark attacks, aerial surveillance and beach use.
The lines will be baited daily and deployed about 500 metres from shore in eight to 15 metres of water, weather permitting, until mid-2018.
Contractors and DPI scientists are alerted when a shark is caught. The shark is then tagged, relocated about 1km offshore and released.
Two tags are used, if conditions permit – an internal acoustic tag that’s detected when a shark comes within 500 metres of a listening station, while a tag on the shark’s dorsal fin allows it to be tracked via satellite.
Shark alerts are provided via @NSWSharkSmart on Twitter.
The six-month Illawarra and South Coast drumline trial is part of the governments $16 million shark management strategy.
DPI shark research scientist Vic Peddemors said the drumlines were “looking very promising as part of the future of shark mitigation measures”.
“Trials have shown they help to protect human life while minimising the impact on marine species,” Dr Peddemors said.
Kiama residents can visit a community drop-in stand on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to learn about the drumlines.
The information stands will also be set up in Ulladulla later this month.
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