FIN-NISHED: The six month SMART drumline trial off the Coffs Coast finished last month.
FIN-NISHED: The six month SMART drumline trial off the Coffs Coast finished last month. Contributed

Shark trial reveals extreme distances travelled

A TOTAL of 34 sharks "considered to be a potential danger for humans" were caught on SMART drumlines during the six month trial.

The three species of targeted sharks included great whites, tiger and bull sharks.

Out of the 400 shark species out there, these are considered the greatest threat to humans by the NSW Department of Primary Industry.

Tiger sharks accounted for the most sharks caught off the Coffs Coast, with 18 caught on the drumlines installed between Diggers Beach and Sawtell from August 2017 and February 2018.

There were also 16 great whites caught but no bull sharks.

Other species caught off Coffs included 12 dusky whalers, three grey nurses, one smooth hammerhead, one shortfin mako and one black ray.

All targeted sharks were released alive once tagged. Non-targeted species were also all released alive.

 

The idea behind the Shark Management Alert in Real Time (SMART) drumlines was to mitigate shark bites off the NSW coast.

The drumlines comprised of an anchor, rope, buoys and satellite communication unit attached to a baited hook.

NSW DPI scientists were alerted once a shark was hooked. They would then tag and release the shark further offshore.

The tags were used to monitor the travel patterns of the sharks.

One tiger shark caught off the Coffs Coast was found to travel 10,785km after being tagged, almost reaching New Caledonia.

It was one of 27 sharks, 50 bull sharks and 250 great whites being actively tracked by NSW DPI.

Drumlines were also trialled at Forster/Tuncurry, Kiama and Shell Cove, and Ulladulla and Narrawallee.

Great whites tagged in NSW tracked travelling to Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia and New Zealand. One travelled 23,500km in 18 months.



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