The New South Wales Government has announced trials of new technologies and an increase in shark surveillance as part of a five-year $16 million shark strategy.
The new technologies include drones, a real-time shark-tracking app, in-water sonar to track shark movements.
The plan will also involve building physical barriers, listening stations and catch-and-release shark traps at select points along the New South Wales coastline.
Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair says, “After considering the advice from experts attending a recent summit in Sydney and consulting with communities including the North Coast, we will take a multi-faceted approach to the issue of detecting and deterring sharks.”
The strategy is thought to be the single largest global trial of technologies designed to keep swimmers and sharks safely apart.
“This is a historic moment. We are leading the world in New South Wales when it comes to how we interact with sharks and how we’ve utilised a range of technologies to reduce that risk to our beachgoers,” said Mr Blair.
Also included in the strategy is $7 million for more research into how to keep beaches safe and the expansion of a shark tagging program that’s already underway on the North Coast.
A further $1.3 million will be used to educate the public to be “shark smart”.
Mr Blair has ruled out a shark cull, saying, “We don’t cull sharks in New South Wales. That’s why we’ve gone for a look into some of the new technologies and other suites of measures we can implement, and that’s what this response is about. It’s been led by our scientists.”
There have been 13 shark attacks, including one fatality, in New South Wales so far this year.