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Shark nets or SMART drumlines, what’s more effective?

Article image for Shark nets or SMART drumlines, what’s more effective?

Sharks have no doubt been a topic of discussion recently, with three attacks recorded in the same harbour since late September, one of which was fatal.

In early November, 43-year-old Paul Kenny was bitten at Ballina, on the New South Wales north coast, before fighting off the shark and making his way to shore.

Last week, Sydney’s Bondi Beach was closed for one day after two separate shark sightings.

It’s sparked debate on what’s more effective: shark nets, or SMART drumlines?

In 2015/2016, Ballina was labelled as shark attack central.

According to Mayor David Wright, in that period, the Ballina Shire alone hosted 10 per cent of the world’s shark interactions.

After the spate of attacks, shark nets were trialled on the state’s coastline for two years, only to be removed in May this year after community opposition.

While the nets were up, those beaches saw no attacks.

Since May, SMART drumlines have occupied the shores and research shows they’re effective at deterring the sharks.

But are they more effective than shark nets?

SMART drumlines: NSW Government

NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair tells Ben Fordham “the nets weren’t effective”.

“What we were dealing with on the north coast was a relatively new phenomenon.”

Ballina Mayor David Wright says “SMART drumlines and aerial surveillance from the drones do a better job”.

He tells Ben the drumlines will “100 per cent” keep his community safe over summer.

Mayor Wright says he won’t entertain the idea of bringing the nets back, unless it’s absolutely crucial.

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