The DPI are asking for feedback on the shark net trial off North Coast beaches.
The DPI are asking for feedback on the shark net trial off North Coast beaches. Sea Shepherd Australia

Shark nets, time to have your say

SHARK nets have been a decisive issue on the Northern Rivers, generating passionate debate in the community over their effectiveness as a protection measure.

Now, you can let the NSW Department of Primary Industries know what you think.

The NSW DPI encouraged North Coast residents and stakeholders to provide feedback on the second trial of shark nets at Ballina, Lennox Head and Evans Head.

The second North Coast shark net trial at five beaches during summer and autumn ended earlier this month, ahead of the peak whale migration season.

DPI deputy director General Fisheries, Dr Geoff Allan, said data from the trial will now be analysed by DPI shark scientists to assess the effectiveness of the nets and to seek feedback on other shark mitigation measures.

"Our aim with the trial is to minimise the risk to swimmers and surfers, whilst minimising the amount of by-catch," Dr Allan said.

"It's crucial now that we consider the views of the local community on the outcomes of the second trial of shark nets at Sharpes, Shelly, and Lighthouse beaches at Ballina, Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head, and Main Beach at Evans Head.

A random phone survey of the community will be conducted by an independent consultant. Members of the community can also complete the survey online between May 9 and May 18.

There will also be a community drop-in stand at Lighthouse Beach on Saturday 12 May between 9am - 1pm, where members of the community can learn more about the shark nets and other mitigation measure being tested and trialled in the region.

"Community input will inform part of the government's decision on the best measures to protect swimmers and surfers moving forward.

"The NSW Government's Shark Management Strategy is trialling a number of shark mitigation technologies to mitigate the risk of shark bite on our beaches," Dr Allan said.

SMART drumlines will remain in the water over the winter months. The DPI said SMART drumlines have proven to be very effective at catching target sharks in the trial area with minimal by-catch and providing important insights into shark movements and behaviours.

Aerial surveillance by helicopter and drones will continue to be conducted on the North Coast on weekends and every day during school holidays.

For more information or to complete the North Coast shark net trial survey please visit DPI's website.