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Byron Shire
September 27, 2021

Drones deployed to stop north coast shark attacks

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Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin with local lifesavers and CEO of Surf Life Saving NSW, Stephen Pearce. (supplied)

A $430,000 fleet of drones fitted with shark spotting technology will be patrolling north coast beaches this summer.

The drones will be deployed at beaches in Byron Bay, Ballina and Evans Head, delivering live vision back to lifesavers on the beach.

Other measures to protect swimmers from sharks include up to 35 SMART drumlines, helicopter surveillance, and the second net trial.

Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, Ben Franklin said the NSW Government has provided $430,000 in funding to Surf Life Saving NSW (SLS) to give lifesavers the extra eyes in the sky this summer.

Mr Franklin said two of the drones would be part of mobile units fitted with Shark Spotter technology, a flotation device that could be dropped down to swimmers, an alarm and a loudspeaker.

‘Up to nine beaches will have the smaller drones also fitted with Shark Spotter technology and will fly each morning,’ he said.

‘Using drone technology will not only provide extra detection for sharks, but also allow our lifesavers to help someone in trouble.’

The project is in collaboration with NSW DPI Fisheries, who will provide their expertise and training based on 18 months of trials that have explored how drones can be used for shark surveillance.

Mr Franklin said the drones would not only benefit locals but also the thousands of tourists who flocked to the north coast’s pristine beaches each year.

For further information on the NSW Government’s Shark Management Strategy, visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries website and download our SharkSmart app.

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  1. Great. It doesn’t need to be a trial we know they work just buy a drone for every surf club in Australia. I glad DPI is finally taking notice of what we have said for years. Now they just need to pull un the useless, ineffective, costly and dangerous shark nets as the senate inquiry recommended. We will be recommending tourist just swim at beaches that respect their marine life and don’t have shark nets.

  2. You Aussies, God love ya, are totally paranoid when it comes to sharks. You have yet to realize that it is THEIR ocean, not yours. Until you come up with a harmless method of protection, I will continue to criticize you for your use of drum lines, nets, and the rest that are not only ineffective, but also kill harmless species along with sharks.


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