Satellites to monitor shark movements off NSW north coast


Satellite receivers that monitor the movements of sharks have been dropped into waters off the New South Wales north coast in a bid to stem the number of attacks on people.

The rollout of the program comes amid concerns about the number of attacks and sightings in the region this year.

In November, a surfer was seriously injured at Lighthouse Beach in Ballina, after a Japanese man was killed by a shark at Shelly Beach in February.

The new real-time warning system uses 4G technology and will provide updates on the movements of tagged sharks by using the Department of Primary Industry’s Shark Smart mobile phone app.

If a shark which has been tagged swims within 500 metres of the station, an alert will be issued.

The state’s Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair, said the measures were starting on the north coast because of the increasing frequency of shark attacks there.

“The north coast is an area where we know where there has been some issues,” he said.

“We’re trialling technologies right up and down the coast line and we’re starting with the north coast because that’s where we’ve had particular problems.”

The department said the use of 4G technology was significant because it would eliminate the need for divers to manually retrieve information from monitoring devices.

“We know there is no one solution to this issue — but these listening stations will go a long way in better informing us about if and where sharks are along our coastline,” Mr Blair said.

$16 million pledged in New South Wales

So far, 14 great white sharks have been tagged as part of a program on the NSW north coast, but any shark which has been tagged worldwide and travelled to the area should trigger the alerts.

As part of the NSW Shark Management Strategy, $16 million has been pledged by the NSW government for projects and trials.

There have been 14 “unprovoked” shark attacks on humans in NSW in 2015, according to the Taronga Conservation Society.

Fourteen were in New South Wales, one of which was fatal.

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