Media Release

The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP
Minister for the Environment and Energy

16. November 2016

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net_ham1The Federal Government has granted the NSW Government an exemption under national environment law to conduct a 12 month shark net trial on the NSW north coast following a number of attacks.

The trial is expected to play a major role in preventing sharks from interacting with ocean users.

In making the decision on the NSW application, the Federal Government considered the national interest in making the exemption and balanced concerns about public safety, economic harm and the impact to the marine environment, including the impact on threatened and migratory species.

With more than 11 million visitors spending $3.7 billion each year the north coast is a major national and international recreation and tourism destination, and the iconic surf beaches are the primary driver of tourism, which supports around one in three jobs in the region.

Since 1 January 2014, there have been 27 unprovoked interactions with sharks in NSW waters of which three resulted in fatalities and six resulted in serious injuries. Three recent attacks on the north coast occurred to surfers from white sharks in less than one month. The exemption has been granted to enable NSW to commence the trial immediately in anticipation of the peak holiday and tourism season when the beaches are most heavily used.

As proposed by the NSW Government the trial will commence in November 2016 and finish in November 2017, but the mesh nets will only be in operation for up to six months during this period.

At commencement of the NSW Government trial nets will be deployed at five priority locations including Lennox Head main beach, Sharpes Beach, Shelley Beach, Lighthouse Beach and Evans Head Beach, with an additional five nets available to be deployed at other beaches during the trial period.

The NSW Government will put in place a range of management and monitoring measures to reduce the impacts to the environment including acoustic warning devices to deter marine mammals.

The Federal Department of the Environment and Energy will receive regular reports from NSW on the implementation and monitoring of the trial.

Source: NSW Department of the Environment and Energy