The O’Farrell Government is offering grants for local councils and surf clubs to build shark towers on NSW beaches and headlands.
The O’Farrell Government is offering grants for local councils and surf clubs to build shark towers on NSW beaches and headlands.

New towers to prevent shark attacks

SHARK observation towers will be built along the NSW coastline, as new figures show an increase in attacks over the past five years.

The State Government has called for local councils and life saving clubs to tender for grants to built up to 10 towers to reduce the number of attacks in NSW.

The Taronga Conservation Society's Shark Attack File shows there's been a 37 per cent increase in shark attacks in NSW between 2006 and 2010 compared to the previous five year period.

On the Coffs Coast, however, there has been just one reported incident where a surfer was bitten on the foot by what was thought to be a bull shark at Mullawarra Beach in October last year.

Compared to Western Australia, which has experienced three fatal attacks in recent months, the last fatality in NSW happened at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach in 2008.

The need for patrol towers has been pursued following a recent government shark summit.

Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said the funding for the shark observation towers is further protection for beachgoers.

"Observation towers are not only useful for spotting sharks, but sighting people in distress and offering a clear line of vision when there is a big swell," Ms Hodgkinson said.

"The NSW Government will commit $30,000 per year for the building of up to 10 new observation towers per year on beaches or beach headlands for effective shark spotting.

She said the NSW Government will provide about $1.4- million this summer for shark safety protection including shark meshing and aerial patrols.

Applications for the shark tower scheme close on Friday, December 9 and can be lodged on the NSW DPI website.


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