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No drumlines for Clarence Coast

Image Caption: The DPI is in the process of placing another 50 SMART drumlines “from August as part of a trial of shark bite mitigation methods”; however, none are planned for the Clarence Coast. Image: NSW Department of Primary Industries

Geoff Helisma

Following a shark attack on a surfer at Iluka on Sunday September 10, two great white sharks were caught by SMART (Shark-Management-Alert-in-Real-Time) drumlines placed in waters off Yamba and Angourie.

However, there are no plans to continue with the initiative in Clarence Coast waters.

A Byron Bay man, Abe McGrath, was thrown from his board by what he believes was a great white shark – his surfboard was broken in two and he suffered a gash to his hip.

The Independent made an enquiry to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) through its media unit (via email as requested), to ascertain what its plans were for the future deployment of the drumlines.

Independent: Can you please give me some details on the SMART drumlines deployed in the waters off Yamba following the shark attack at Iluka?
DPI: The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) undertook research work around Iluka, Yamba and Angourie using SMART drumline technology on Tuesday 12 September and Wednesday 13 September 2017.

Independent: How many sharks caught and or tagged to date?
DPI: Two white sharks were tagged and released at Yamba and Angourie.

Independent: Has the DPI set a time limit for their deployment?
DPI: There are no plans to permanently deploy SMART drumlines in this area.

Independent: Are these drumlines now a permanent part of the north coast trial (under the same conditions as outline on your website)?
DPI: A VR4G listening station is in place at Yamba. To monitor the movements of tagged sharks download the Sharksmart App or follow us @NSWSharkSmart on Twitter.

Independent: Any other information the public should know about the deployment?
DPI: Up to 30 SMART drumline will again be trialled for a further six months, commencing in early November, on the NSW north coast in the same area as the first trial.
SMART drum lines are a part of the NSW Governments $16million shark management program.

DPI’s website states: “SMART drumlines comprise of an anchor and rope, two buoys, and a satellite-linked communications unit which is attached to a trace and baited hook”.
“[They] are deployed approximately 500 metres offshore away from swimmers and surfers to allow sharks to be intercepted beyond the surf zone.
“When a shark is hooked, the pressure on the line triggers the communications unit which alerts DPI scientists or contractors via phone call, email and text message to the presence of an animal on the line.
“The team then responds immediately to the SMART drumline alert to manage the animal.”
According to the website, there are currently 35 SMART drumlines deployed daily between Evans Head and Lennox Head (weather and ocean conditions permitting).

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