Drum line trials reveal how many sharks lurk off NSW coast


Source: Manly Daily

Drum lines will remain bobbing in the waves off NSW north coast beaches dangling a big baited hook until at least June next year after the State government committed to funding the scheme along the stretch of beaches which has been a shark attack hotspot.

While a trial of SMART drum lines off Newcastle, Sydney and the South Coast ends this week, the extension of funding for the north coast between Ballina and Lennox Head is expected to see them become a permanent fixture.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal 11 potentially dangerous sharks were caught in the past two months during the South Coast trial.

A great white shark caught on a SMART drum line off the beach at Tathra during the latest trial. Picture: Supplied

A tiger shark was also caught. Picture: Supplied

Six great whites measuring between 1.5m and 1.82m were caught at Tathra, as well as three tiger sharks measuring between 1.3m and 1.68m.

Two tiger sharks measuring 1.78m and 1.75m were hooked, tagged and released off the beach at Merimbula.

SMART (Shark Management Alert in Real Time) drum lines are baited hooks under a float attached to an electronic alert system.

Once hooked a boat crew fit the shark with a smart tag — which can track their movements — and release it as soon as possible.

“Preliminary trial results show SMART Drumlines are successful in catching target sharks and allowing our professional staff to tag and release them out at sea,” Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said.

“The NSW Government is continuing efforts to increase its knowledge about the movement and ecology of White, Tiger and Bull Sharks, while trialling technologies to reduce the risk of shark bites through methods ranging from drones and helicopters to SMART drumlines.”

The State government has committed to funding the drum line scheme. Picture: Supplied

In the 90-day trial along Sydney’s northern beaches, which ends today, only a single shark was caught — a 2.4-metre tiger shark off Dee Why Beach on April 20.

The drum lines are seen as far less likely to kill other marine life than shark nets.

Sharks caught on the north coast over 23 days in March when the water is extremely warm included a 2.4-metre male tiger shark at Lennox Head Beach, a 2.5-metre male tiger shark at Boulders Beach, and two male tiger sharks at South Ballina Beach, that measured 2.3 metres and 2.6 metres.

No target sharks — great white, tiger and bull sharks — were caught in the 90-day drum line trial off Newcastle.


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