New shark detecting buoy dropped at Lighthouse Beach Port Macquarie

Lighthouse buoy: This shark detection buoy sits in the waters of Lighthouse Beach, visible to the public. Photo: NSW Department of Primary Industries.
Lighthouse buoy: This shark detection buoy sits in the waters of Lighthouse Beach, visible to the public. Photo: NSW Department of Primary Industries.

AN NEW Clever Buoy shark detecting beacon has been dropped in the water off Lighthouse Beach after the first installation was damaged in storms earlier this year.

It will be the only shark detecting device used on the Mid North Coast despite debate about the effectiveness of nets following a recent spate of sharks attacks at Ballina and Byron Bay.

The buoy is a floating device that features shark-detecting sonar technology.

It is designed to detect sharks swimming past, and then send an SMS message to lifesavers on the beach.

There is one catch - the shark has to be tagged. At present, there are only 76 sharks in the north coast waters that fit the criteria on the north coast.

The Clever Buoy was one of a number of technologies funded under the Baird government's $16 million shark management strategy.

An independent trial of sonar technology will determine if it is reliable enough to be used at beaches that have seen repeated shark attacks.

There have been three attacks on the North Coast in the past month. One year ago, Port Macquarie man Dale Carr was attacked at Lighthouse Beach, sustaining serious injuries to his upper leg.

Mr Carr said he would like to see both lethal and non-lethal measures put in place for potential shark attacks.

“The dynamic environment requires a dynamic policy,” he said.

“I think everything should be available, both lethal and non-lethal, depending on the circumstances. Have the right triggers in place.”

Responding to the most recent attacks, the Baird government said it would deploy 100 "smart" drumlines on the North Coast and introduce legislation to allow a trial of mesh nets.

That does not sit well with secretary of Three Rivers Greens Drusi Megget.

“I think the shark nets are very unfortunate if they were to go in,” she said.

“The nets don’t only stop sharks, they kill a lot of other life such as turtles and dolphins. They ocean is already under incredible stress.

“The general public don’t realise how in-danger our oceans are and for humans to do even more to harm fish life is awful.”

A NSW Department of Primary Industries spokesperson said that 100 bull, white and tiger sharks are targeted to be tagged during the five year shark management strategy. 

“The tagging program aims to ascertain the movements of white sharks and their abundance in certain areas,” the spokesperson said.

“Some sharks have travelled as far as South Australia, Northern Queensland and New Zealand.”

You can find detailed maps of where these tagged sharks have travelled at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

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