Newcastle to trial SMART drumlines

Published: 21 Jan 2019

Up to 10 SMART drumlines will be trialled in Newcastle, to increase protection for beachgoers and minimise harm to sharks and other marine life.

From 1 February to 30 April 2019, Shark Management Alert in Real Time (SMART) drumlines will be introduced across Stockton, Nobbys, Newcastle, Bar, Dixon Park and Merewether beaches near existing shark nets.

SMART drumlines will be set 500 metres offshore every morning (weather permitting) and collected at the end of each day. They consist of two buoys and a satellite-linked communications unit, which is attached to a hook baited with a single mullet.

If a shark or other animal is captured, an alert is sent to a boat crew who respond to the animal within 30 minutes. If it is a target shark (white, bull or tiger shark), it is tagged and then released one-kilometre offshore. All other marine animals caught are released immediately.

Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said this is the first time SMART drumlines will be trialled in Newcastle and will add an extra layer of protection to the NSW Government’s shark net program.

“The North Coast and other parts of NSW have shown that SMART drumlines are a highly effective measure at intercepting sharks with minimal impact on the marine environment,” Mr Blair said.

“We’ve been at the forefront with new technologies such as SMART drumlines and have seen some great results, which is why it’s time to trial these in some new locations.”

Find out how the NSW Government is using SMART drumlines

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