Shark strategy deadline looms, council pleads for funding


A Northern Rivers council is expected to write to the State Government to request the continuation of the shark management strategy.

Funding for the program, which was run by the Department of Primary Industries for five years and was extended for another 12 months, will end on June 30.

But Richmond Valley Council would like to see it continue.

At this week’s meeting, councillors will discuss the results of the program at Evans Head beaches.

Drones, SMART drumlines, shark tagging and shark listening stations have all been used in the area as part of the strategy.

A shark alarm was funded by the council before the strategy started, and it will continue to be used, with money allocated in the council’s budget.

The council’s Mid-Richmond co-ordinator, Latoya Cooper, wrote in her report to the council that the shark management program had been beneficial.

 

A 2.4m male white shark that was caught on a smart drumline at Evans Head in 2017.

A 2.4m male white shark that was caught on a smart drumline at Evans Head in 2017.

 

“The initiative has helped to improve safety for beach users at Evans Head, particularly over the holiday months, and provided vital data for the DPIE Shark Management Team to implement appropriate mitigation measures,” she wrote.

“It is recommended that council seeks additional funding from the NSW Government to ensure this important program continues.

“Drones operated on Airforce Beach in Evans Head between 9am and 4pm during patrolled times, this includes both NSW school holidays and QLD school holidays.

“Part of the NSW Government funding for the Shark Mitigation Program was used to purchase drones for the Evans Head Surf Life Saving Club for future use.

“Volunteer-run drone inspections will continue to take place after the Shark Mitigation Program is completed.

“The inclusion of Evans Head in shark mitigation measures by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Shark Management Team has been well received and appreciated by the community and council.

“With the observation of 254 sharks from the program across the coastline over the 2019/2020 period, it is recommended that council advocates for the continuation of funding for this program, as well as providing feedback to other government agencies on preferred measures for future shark management at Evans Head.”

The recommendation is for the council to write to the DPI’s Shark Management Team providing feedback on shark mitigation measures and requesting that the program be funded on an ongoing basis.

The council’s meeting will be held from 5pm on Tuesday, April 20.





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