By Barclay Crawford, The Sunday Telegraph,
20. November, 2011

SHARK observation towers will be built along the NSW coast as new figures show a dramatic increase in attacks over five years.

The Taronga Conservation Society’s Shark Attack File showed a 37 per cent increase in shark attacks in NSW between 2006-10 compared with the previous five years.

A government Shark Summit previously recommended building more towers to help reduce attacks. The towers also provide a quick and easy way of monitoring big swells for surf lifesavers.

The Department of Primary Industries will this week call for councils and tenderers wanting to build up to 10 towers to apply for grants.

Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson believes that state government will spend about $30,000 each year on grants to councils who want to build the observation towers.

“We encourage Surf Life Saving clubs and councils wanting to construct observation towers to apply for a grant now,” she said.

“We will also be continuing the aerial surveillance trails and the SharkSmart public awareness program that is designed to inform and educate water sports enthusiasts about the ways to reduce the risk of a shark bite incident.”

The towers are part of $1.4 million in funding which will be allocated to programs designed to reduce the number of attacks in NSW.

These measures include a boost in the number of planes and helicopters conducting surveillance along the coastline and better shark meshing for beaches.

SharkSmart will also aim to better educate surfers, swimmers and drivers about the best ways to reduce their chances of being attacked while in the water.

Earlier this month, the CSIRO revealed they tagged nine great white sharks in a well known breeding ground off the coast from Newcastle to Hawks Nest.

The sharks were attracted by unseasonably warm waters and a plentiful supply of fish and were expected to remain in the area until January.

Three people have been killed in shark attacks in Western Australia this spring.

Source: The Sunday Telegraph