The Department of Primary Industries has been managing and surveying sharks between Lennox Head and Evans head since 2015. They’re using shark management alert in real time or SMART to tag sharks, so as to properly map a great white’s movements and avoid potential shark attacks in the area.
The New South Wales government has spent 16 million dollars on the new tracking and tagging system. But as researcher Dr Vic Peddomers explains it’s almost impossible to ensure absolute protection for everyone who enters the water.
But, as he explains, SMART technology will keep beachgoers informed, they will understand the water conditions and whether there may be sharks present in the water.
If we can advise them to a higher number of those on the coastline, then people will hopefully become more aware, and the lifesaving community and other authorities can enhance their vigilance.
And so far 100 great whites have been tagged with a further 33 bull sharks and two tiger sharks.
In order to monitor the shark’s movements, large baited buoys are fitted with communication devices. Researchers are then sent word that the shark has taken the bait and go out to the specific buoy to tag the shark. The tag which is inserted into the shark’s belly will stay there for ten years. Along with the tag inside the shark, a satellite tagging system is placed on the shark’s dorsal fin to better monitor its movements.
According to Dr Peddomers, after surveying and tracking 100 great white sharks over the course of two years, they found that the sharks displayed no recognisable movement patterns.
Some will head north to Queensland, others will move to New Zealand, others are circumnavigating Tassie or crossing the Bass Strait and crossing to South Australia. Our most famous shark, shark number 28, has gone all the way to WA and back.
After tagging, the sharks are transported further away from the shore.
So far there are 20 shark satellites down the New South Wales coast. Shark stations in Ballina, Bryon Bay, Port Macquarie, Yamba, Kingscliff and Bondi can see the sharks’ actions in real time.
This technology is an alternative to Shark culling which has seen the death of 68 sharks in Western Australia.
So far, thanks to SMART technology in New South Wales only one shark has been killed.