Shark barriers are set to be in place along the entire length of Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach and a section of Lennox Head Beach by the end of February as part of the NSW government’s multi-million-dollar plan to protect swimmers and surfers from shark attacks.
In a state first, the so-called ‘eco barriers’ now under manufacture will be rolled out in January and be operational in February.
Premier Mike Baird and primary industries minister Niall Blair visited Ballina yesterday to announce the new barriers, as well as inspect recently-installed drum lines and shark listening stations to tag and monitor the sharks in the area as part of the government’s $16 million shark deterrent strategy.
Two listening stations are in place at Sharpes Beach, Ballina, and Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay, to monitor sharks that have been tagged, and the government plans to roll out more.
It follows a fatal attack on a surfer in February and the serious mauling of another surfer off Ballina’s beaches in November.
The proposed shark barrier at Lighthouse Beach is around 650 metres long, and the barrier net at Lennox Head Beach around 150 metres long.
Mr Baird told the ABC that if the smart drum lines were successful they would be deployed permanently off the north coast.
He said it was a new technology which had only been trialled in the Reunion Islands.
Ballina Mayor David Wright said that just yesterday there were two shark sightings off Lennox and Shark Beach where swimmers were warned by a patrolling helicopter to get out of the water.
Cr Wright told the ABC he would be asking for more helicopter patrols till the barriers were in place.