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February 25, 2021

Sirens to warn of sharks at Evans Head

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A shark warning system has been installed at Evans Head. (Wikipedia)
A shark warning system has been installed at Evans Head. (Wikipedia)

Richmond Valley Council has installed an early warning shark sighting system to protect surfers and swimmers at Evans Head beach.

The installation of the warning system follows an attack on surfer Craig Ison at Evans Head main beach in July, and a series of attacks further up the coast near Ballina.

The council said the new technology, featuring a remotely-controlled siren, was about communicating to the public and beachgoers as a quick response to minimise shark attacks.

The warning system will allow surf lifesavers, police, rangers and Marine Rescue volunteers to be able to set off the sirens to warn all surfers and swimmers of shark sightings.

An image showing the large schools of bait fish believed to be attracting sharks closer to the coastline. (Picture Phil Gallagher / AquaTech)
An image showing the large schools of bait fish believed to be attracting sharks closer to the coastline. (Picture Phil Gallagher / AquaTech)

The system uses high-technology video verification, which is connected to a 24/7 control room. This control room will also be able to review any information and hazards and remotely set off the sirens.

Sirens have been installed at the Evans Head Surf Club and the Marine Rescue tower at the Razorback lookout.

From this location Marine Rescue volunteers have a great view of the beaches and break wall. If there is a shark sighting, they will also be able to trigger the sirens.

In addition to the shark sirens, a public address system will be used to verbally communicate to the public to keep them up to date.

The state-of-the-art system was designed by CAV Security.

Richmond Valley Mayor Ernie Bennett said he was confident the sirens would help the community and anyone attending the beach.

Cr Bennett said the unique design of the system provided a quick and simple communication of the sirens, while having the remote access to turn them on being a huge benefit.

He said safe beaches were something the Council was passionate about, and Evans Head would benefit from the early warning system and other future initiatives.

“The idea for this initiative came out of discussions between the NSW Police, Surf Life Saving NSW, Marine Rescue and Council when drafting a Shark Sighting Protocol,” Cr Bennett said.

“Council is very proud of its lead role in commissioning and funding this project, which is the first of its kind in Australia.

“Evans Head, indeed the entire coastline of the Richmond Valley local government area, is a significant stakeholder in the current shark issue and Council looks forward to continuing its collaboration with the NSW Government and its neighbouring councils to achieve positive outcomes for community safety.”

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