Controversial shark net trial to end early
SHARK nets at North Coast beaches will be removed as soon as today, the State Government announced this morning.
An earlier than anticipated whale migration season has triggered the removal of all five nets, bringing an early end to the second shark net trial.
The second trial of shark nets has been underway for almost five months at Lighthouse Beach (Ballina), Sharpes Beach (Ballina), Shelly Beach (Ballina), Seven Mile Beach (Lennox Head) and Evans Head Beach.
Primary Industries Minister, Niall Blair said his department had been monitoring the whale migration along the east coast and decided to end the trial earlier following the increase in whale sightings.
"The risk of a whale being caught in the nets is unfortunately too high and therefore it is important we remove the nets a month early," he said.
"Our SMART drumlines will remain in the water over the winter months and they've proven to be very effective at catching target sharks.
"However, the weather is still warm and I know plenty of people are still enjoying our beaches each day. I encourage all beachgoers to check the signs, avoid dark turbid and murky waters and avoid swimming and surfing near schools of baitfish."
The trial was originally scheduled to finish in May, but due to bad weather, the nets were removed on a number of occasions and the projected end date of the trial was pushed back to June 6.
An online and phone community survey will open from May 9-18 to seek feedback on the second trial.
A community drop-in stand will be at Lighthouse Beach on Saturday, May 12 between 9am and 1pm.
Feedback on the net trial will help inform the NSW Government's future decisions on shark nets for next season.