Shark surveillance snub for Clarence Coast

YAMBA'S beaches will be overlooked, not looked over, as shark-spotting helicopter crews begin year-long patrols elsewhere on the New South Wales coastline.

NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair has announced aerial surveillance teams will operate until at least April next year.

But Yamba, where a shark bit a teen surfer's hand in June, is a black spot where no patrols will go.

Yamba Surf Club captain James Ryan said the snub was disappointing but remained optimistic the beachside town's thriving surf community would not experience the same shark dangers that had plagued areas such as Ballina.

"It would be nice if we had it. It makes things safer and gives you a bit of peace of mind," he said.

"We would definitely like it (aerial surveillance) but, touch wood, we don't have the hassles they have in places like Evans Head up north."

Mr Ryan's neighbour keeps an eye on tagged sharks' movements - currently only 14 have been tagged -through the State Government's SharkSmart app.

"One of the tagged sharks was detected by the buoy (off Yamba) just last weekend," Mr Ryan said.

"They work within a 500m radius, apparently, so it could have been on the shoreline or another kilometre out."

The government has announced five surveillance regions, including one running from Tweed Heads to South Ballina, and another from Wooli to South Sawtell.

Patrols on the Ballina run will operate once a day every weekend for the next year, and every day during school holidays.

Evans Head, Yamba, Angourie, Brooms Head and Minnie Water are among the coastal towns that fall in the zone between the two regions.

"As part of the state's integrated shark management strategy a Vr4G listening station is installed at Yamba Beach to pick up detections from any tagged sharks within a 500m radius," Mr Niall said.

"We encourage swimmers and surfers to be SharkSmart, swim at patrolled beaches and download the SharkSmart app or follow us on twitter @NSWSharkSmart for shark detections and sightings."

Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson said he welcomed moves to make NSW beaches safer.

"I assume the flights are over higher risk areas of the coast and most of the Clarence Coast does not appear to carry the same heightened risk as some other areas of the coastline might carry," he said.

"The flights are a positive move in a general sense, the more confidence locals and visitors have to enjoy the waterways the better for everyone."



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