Australia increases shark tagging after teen mauling
THE tagging and relocation of sharks off Australia’s most populous state will be sharply increased to protect surfers ahead of a busy summer season, authorities said yesterday, after a teenager was mauled in a recent attack.
The New South Wales government has come under pressure to act after a 17-year-old boy was bitten on the leg while surfing off the east coast on September 26.
The scene of the attack – Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach about 750 kilometres (466 miles) north of Sydney – is in a region that has become known as a shark hotspot after a spate of encounters over the past year.
But trials to protect local surfers with eco-barriers were recently scrapped due to rough conditions, with the government turning to “smart drumlines” where sharks are caught and tagged before being relocated further out to sea.
“Testing shows smart drumlines are highly effective in catching sharks so they can be tagged and relocated, so we will increase the number deployed off NSW from 15 to 100,” NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said.
The so-called smart drumlines are meant to be more friendly to other marine life and are not designed to kill sharks. They alert officials when creatures are captured so they can be freed if conditions permit. –