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Bad weather forces drumlines out of the water

TARGET CATCH: This 2.32m male white shark was caught at Lennox Head last year on a drumline.
TARGET CATCH: This 2.32m male white shark was caught at Lennox Head last year on a drumline. Contributed

LARGE swell and strong winds meant the deployment of SMART drumlines at Evans Head, Ballina and Lennox Head was restricted over the past week.

The SMART drumlines are now back in the water after a week of bad conditions, including large swells up to eight metres, strong easterly winds of up to 20 knots and rough bar conditions, restricted the deployment of SMART drumlines at Evans Head, Ballina and Lennox Head.

 

The second trial of NSW North Coast Shark Meshing began in November last year. The report for the month of December showed during the 31 days the nets were deployed, 36 individuals from ten species were caught in the nets.

 

The location of shark SMART drumline and listening stations near Ballina.
The location of shark SMART drumline and listening stations near Ballina. Contributed

Of those marine animals caught, 20 (56 per cent) were released alive and 16 (44per cent) were deceased and retained for analyses.

'Listed Fauna' caught in December were five pygmy devilrays, two loggerhead turtles, one hawksbill turtle, one green turtle, one greynurse shark and one manta ray.

None of the species caught was a target species - neither a white, tiger nor bull shark.

In comparison, SMART drumlines were deployed for 29 days at Ballina-Lennox Head, and 23 days at Evans Head during December.

The DPI said environmental conditions determined how long the 30 SMART drumlines were deployed on any given day. On average, SMART drumlines were deployed daily for 8.29 hours at Ballina-Lennox Head, and 8.44h at Evans Head.

When an alert was triggered, the DPI contractors were at the SMART drumline within an average of 17 minutes.

Nine marine animals were caught, all released alive. Five were target species, all white sharks. The four non-target species were three hammerhead sharks and one dusky whaler, all were released alive.

The DPI said that on the December 16 a SMART drumline deployed at South Ballina Beach, Ballina went missing. Searches of the adjacent beach and water 7 km either side of the deployment location on the day failed to find the drumline. The drumline was later found, without anchor or anchor rope, by a recreational boater in the Richmond River, Ballina on the day it went missing and reported to Fisheries Compliance.

During the rough weather, the five shark mesh netsthat are part of the NSW Government's second north coast net trial, remained in the water.

As well, Surf Life Saving drone trials, helicopter aerial surveillance on weekends (weather permitting), VR4G listening stations and the Shark Smart App continued to protect north coast beachgoers.

Topics:  bad weather editors picks northern rivers environment shark mitigation shark net smart drumlines


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