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May 14, 2021

NSW sharks ‘leave beaches’ after tagging

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So-called ‘smart’ drum lines are deployed on the beaches along Byron.

Eighty great white sharks have been caught and tagged over five months during a trial of drum lines on NSW coasts and researchers say most swim away from beaches as a result.

The sharks, which were up to four metres long, were caught after 10 drum lines were placed between Coffs Harbour and Sawtell along with Foster and Tuncurry.

The trial finishes on Tuesday, however drum lines on the far north coast will remain until a similar trial there finishes.

Across NSW 320 white, bull and tiger sharks have been tagged and Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair says the trial has provided invaluable insight for scientists.

“We want to make sure we are continually testing the science, trialling world-first technology, while keeping our local communities part of the conversation,” he said in a statement.

The trial has shown animals can be caught and released with minimal negative impacts.

“The movement of tagged sharks away from the coast after release reduces risk over the following days and weeks,” the department said.

“Satellite tag data has shown that they mostly move offshore after release for extended periods.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government was pleased with the trial.

“The new technology is saving lives, but also now we see evidence that it’s actually preventing or deterring sharks from even coming close to those areas,” she told reporters in Sydney.

“If we can protect the environment but more importantly protect lives, of course we will look at those opportunities.”


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