Richmond mayor says air surveillance was one of the most effective ways to monitor sharks and alert swimmers of their location.
Richmond mayor says air surveillance was one of the most effective ways to monitor sharks and alert swimmers of their location.

Shark surveillance could require money councils don't have

ONE of the best ideas to halt shark attacks would also take a huge bite out of council budgets.

In fact it would require money councils might not even have, Richmond Valley Council Mayor Ernie Bennett has warned.

He said air surveillance was one of the most effective ways to monitor sharks and alert swimmers of their location.

But Cr Bennett said councils could not be responsible for the method and said more State Government help was required.

He said since the government increased protection for great white sharks, the animals' population had risen and put more people in danger.

But Cr Bennett does not support culling and said there was effective technology that could be used, such as sonar.

Other ideas canvassed at the NSW shark summit on Tuesday were electric fields and fences, buoys with multi-beam sonars and drumlines with GPS buoys.

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said the State Government's decision to organise the summit showed the issue was being taken seriously.

"(The NSW Government has) called on the best brains in Australia and the world," he said.

"It's not easy to manage wild animals in their own environment.

"The ocean is a dynamic environment ... it's not a swimming pool."

Mr Gulaptis agreed air surveillance was a key method to mitigating shark attacks, along with public education and technology.

But he said although the state had offered some funding, it could not afford to pay for air surveillance over large areas either.

Mr Gulaptis said it was also important for swimmers to stay between the flags and for people to avoid swimming at the peak attack times of dawn and dusk.

He said the impacts nets and drumlines had on marine life also needed to be investigated further.

Another summit will be held in Ballina on October 14.


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