Shark meshing nets
Shark meshing nets DPI

Scant details on pre-trial of the trial on shark nets

A WEEK after government contractors began shark net testing on the NSW north coast prior to the official summer shark net trial, details of the operation were minimal.

Pre-testing of shark nets "began at Lighthouse Beach on Friday, November 18 and continued at Evans Head over the weekend and early this week" a Department of Primary Industries spokesman said on Friday.

The spokesman said the tests "assessed how easily and quickly the nets can be deployed and removed, how they operate in shallow waters, and the potential to use SMART technologies so that established practices can be set for each of the trial sites" but did not give details on test results so far.

"A number of guitar fish and another ray were caught during the test period, and all were released alive," the spokesman said.

"To minimise the impact of the trial on marine life, DPI plans to have contractors check the nets involved regularly. 

"Contractor arrangements are currently being finalised."

The spokesman did not say whether or not testing of the nets would continue up until the official shark net trial started before December 9 but the following statement suggested it was likely:

"NSW DPI is currently finalising arrangements for maintenance and management of up to 10 nets in accordance with the management plan."

Earlier in the week the spokesman confirmed that Northern Rivers' locals would be contracted for the trial's operation but has not yet disclosed details of contractors hired for the pre-testing of nets.

"Details of the trials will be published in future Shark Management Strategy reporting," said the spokesman.

When The Northern Star asked whether the department had set a financial limit for the six month shark net trial on the north coast, the spokesman said "the final cost of the trial will be determined by prevailing conditions and ongoing maintenance requirements".

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