NSW North Coast Shark Meshing Trial Report

Report period: 8 Dec 2016 – 7 Jan 2017

It is a requirement for data on catches of all fauna to be reported by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) as part of the Management Plan for the NSW North Coast Shark Meshing Trial (PDF, 428.6 KB).

The initial deployment of five nets at five beaches under the trial commenced on 8 December 2016.

Contractors and DPI trained observers check the mesh nets twice a day (generally in the morning and afternoon) to remove and record catches. When weather or bar conditions prevent safe access to mesh nets then fewer checks are undertaken.

Table 1. The number of days that mesh nests were deployed at each beach, and the number of times mesh nets were checked over 8 Dec, 2016-7 Jan, 2017.
Method

Beach

Number of days nets were deployed

Number of times nets were checked

Mesh nets

Seven Mile, Lennox Head

30

29

Sharpes, Ballina

30

31

Shelly, Ballina

30

32

Lighthouse, Ballina

30

32

Main, Evans Head

30

45

During the first month, a total of 41 individuals across 12 species (plus one shark and one turtle which escaped before they could be identified) were caught in the mesh nets.

  • 72% were released alive.
  • 28% were deceased (tissue samples were retained for analyses) (Table 2).
  • of the three target shark species (White, Tiger and Bull Sharks), a total of one White Shark and two Tiger Sharks were caught in the mesh nets at Sharpes Beach and were relocated and released alive.
  • one Bull Shark was caught at Lighthouse Beach, this was dead and samples were retained for analysis.
Table 2. The numbers of each species caught in the mesh nets that were alive (and released/escaped) or dead at each.

Beach

Common Name

Number alive

Number dead

Seven Mile, Lennox Head

Australian Cownose Ray

1

1

 

Longtail (Northern Bluefin) Tuna

0

1

 

Whitespotted Guitarfish

1

0

 

Great Hammerhead Shark

0

2

 

Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin

0

1

 

Manta Ray

1

0

Sharpes, Ballina

White Shark

1

0

 

Tiger Shark

2

0

 

Australian Cownose Ray

1

0

 

Loggerhead Turtle

1

0

 

Unidentified Turtle

1

0

Shelly, Ballina

Whitespotted Eagle Ray

1

0

 

Loggerhead Turtle

1

0

Lighthouse, Ballina

Great Hammerhead Shark

0

2

 

Australian Cownose Ray

3

1

 

Whitespotted Guitarfish

1

0

 

Bull Shark

0

1

 

Loggerhead Turtle

1

0

Main, Evans Head

Green Turtle

0

1

 

Australian Cownose Ray

10

2

 

Whitespotted Guitarfish

1

0

 

Whitespotted Eagle Ray

3

0

 

Unidentified Shark

1

0

Total

 

31

12