Despite a touch of autumn during the past week, warm water temperatures and predicted fine weather are expected to attract thousands of visitors to Great Lakes beaches, and lakes.
The NSW Government is encouraging beachgoers in NSW to be proactive with their safety, especially when it comes to sharks, NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSWDPI) Director Fisheries Research, Dr Natalie Moltschaniwskyj said.
Weather permitting helicopter aerial surveillance will be conducted daily along Great Lakes beaches during both the Queensland and NSW school holidays, starting from April 13 and extending until April 28.
"The NSW Government continues to trial an extensive array of technology with the latest advancements in shark mitigation technology in the air, on the water, and on the ground to reduce the risk of shark bites," Dr Moltschaniwskyj said.
"NSW is leading the world in trials of SMART Drumlines, which are both a shark mitigation tool and a research tool, that reduce the risk of interactions with sharks while minimising the impact on marine species.
"Each day until June 30, 2020 up to 35 SMART drumlines are deployed on the North Coast between Lennox Head and Evans Head, weather dependent.
"Other trials using 10 SMART drumlines are also underway until April 30, 2019 between Stockton and Merewether; Palm Beach and Newport; Dee Why and Manly; Bega River and Tathra; and Short Point and Pambula.
"We are also using detection technologies, including aerial surveillance using helicopters and drones to observe sharks, and detecting tagged sharks through our network of 21satellite linked listening stations (VR4G).
"When sharks are observed or detected, alerts are posted on our SharkSmart app and Twitter.
"Our collaborative trials of drones with Surf Life Saving NSW (SLS NSW) are continuing these holidays at 15 beaches between Kingscliff and Avoca, and SLS NSW are continuing to help DPI to push the SharkSmart message."
For surfers, in addition to the messages of not surfing amongst baitfish, or when the water is turbid, or at dawn and dusk, it also includes considering the use of personal shark deterrents when surfing.
The NSW Government is committed to keeping swimmers and surfers as safe as possible from sharks.
Some fundamental SharkSmart safety tips include:
- Don't swim or surf at dawn or dusk as many sharks feed at this time
- Consider using a Personal Deterrent Device
- Swim between the flags
- Don't surf or swim alone - always buddy up
- Be aware if you see diving birds and baitfish, sharks may be present, leave the water
- Avoid sandbars, river mouths and steep drop-offs - sharks could be present
- Don't swim or surf in murky waters
- Surfers: check conditions and assess the risks
- Respect the ocean - sharks are important for healthy seas
Further information about sharks can be found at the department's website.
The VR4G shark listening station located off Forster's Main Beach has been relatively quiet during the past week with a tagged bull shark detected on several occasions on April 4-5.
However, bull and hammerhead sharks have been spotted by fishers and swimmers in the Great Lakes during the past week.