Be shark-smart for a safe summer

24 Dec 2020

Holidaymakers and beachgoers heading to the coast have today been reminded by the NSW Government to be proactive about their safety in the water this summer.

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the NSW Government had recently invested $8 million into the most effective ways to protect beachgoers, but that it was also important for people to be shark-smart to reduce the risk of interactions.

“The NSW Government is expecting to see an influx of tourists to our coastal communities this summer for a well-earned break, and our priority for swimmers and surfers is their safety in the water,” Mr Marshall said.

“That’s why the NSW Government has committed $8 million to the 2020/21 NSW Shark Program to use the most effective ways to protect beachgoers from sharks, backed by five years of scientific research.”

Mr Marshall said the 2020/21 NSW Shark Program included:

  • Drone surveillance at 34 key swimming locations;
  • 35 SMART drumlines in the Ballina and Richmond Valley Local Government Areas;
  • 21 VR4G listening stations along the NSW coastline to detect and alert the community to the presence of tagged sharks;
  • The continuation of the Shark Meshing Bather Protection program between Newcastle and Wollongong; and
  • The SharkSmart app and community awareness and education programs.

“The NSW Government has made every effort to protect people, but there is always a natural element of risk every time we enter the water,” Mr Marshall said.

“Our significant investments in shark mitigation and monitoring methods mean we are better informed and prepared than ever before.”

The NSW Government has a range of resources, including the SharkSmart website and mobile app, which swimmers and surfers can use before and during their visit to the beach.

More information can be found SharkSmart website.

Some SharkSmart safety tips include:

  • Take extra care when swimming or surfing:
    • In areas with murky, dirty water
    • At dawn or dusk as both Bull and Tiger sharks are more active at this time
    • After high rainfall or floods
    • Within 1km of a river; and
    • When there are lots of baitfish and diving birds around
  • Consider using a Personal Deterrent Device that’s been independently tested
  • Swim between the flags
  • Always buddy up when you surf or swim
  • Avoid sandbars and steep drop-offs
  • Seeing dolphins doesn’t mean there are no sharks around; both often feed together on the same food, and sharks are known to eat dolphins.

Media contact: Luke O’Donnell | 0427 837 497