World's largest shark management program headed for NSW

© Getty Images/iStockphoto The new program has been designed to minimise the impact on marine life.

The world’s largest shark management program will be deployed to New South Wales‘ beaches this summer, including a fleet of new shark-spotting drones.

The program, which is designed to minimise the impact on marine life by using “non-invasive technologies”, will use the world’s largest domestic fleet of drones as well as 100 SMART (shark management alert in real time) drumline to detect sharks at beaches and keep people safe.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the scheme will start rolling out within the coming weeks.

“The NSW Government has done the research and invested in new technologies to bring added protection to our beaches including SMART drumlines, VR4G listening stations and shark-spotting drones,” he said.

“Over the coming weeks we will continue to work with coastal councils from Tweed to Bega Valley and everywhere in between to deliver the world’s largest shark management program to increase beachgoer safety.

“There is no other jurisdiction in Australia or across the globe which has done as much testing and trialling of technology and approaches to mitigate shark interactions.”

The state government has recently tripled its funding on shark management across NSW, now equating to more than $21 million.

© 9News Emerald Beach at Coffs Harbour was the scene of a fatal shark attack earlier this month.

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the new drones — worth more than $3 million — will be deployed across 50 of the state’s beaches.

“We have always said there is no silver bullet when it comes to protecting beachgoers from sharks in NSW,” Mr Marshall said.

“But the NSW Government will now be operating the world’s largest shark management program aiming to get the balance right, between keeping swimmers and surfers safe, and protecting our marine life.

“In partnership with Surf Life Saving NSW, we will deploying the world’s largest domestic fleet of drones to the state’s beaches thanks to an extra $3 million to scale up operations. This will mean more than 50 beaches will have a shark-spotting eye in the sky.”

Mr Marshall said over 100 SMART drumlines will be rolled out in “nearly every coastal council” area starting with Kingscliff, Tuncurry and Coffs Harbour next month.

“We will also continue the deployment of shark nets as part of the Shark Meshing Program in the Greater Sydney Region while we measure the success of the expanded technology-led solutions,” he said.

“Finally, we will be blanketing our coast with 37 VR4G shark listening stations to make sure that when a tagged shark comes close to the coast, everyone using our SharkSmart app will know about it instantaneously, including SLS NSW and council lifeguards.”

Earlier this month, a surfer was mauled to death by a shark on the NSW Mid-North Coast.

Tim Thompson died on the sand at Shelley Beach, just north of Coffs Harbour at the weekend, despite the best efforts of fellow surfers to save him.

Mr Thompson left behind his pregnant wife Katie and their first baby is due in January.

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