The NSW government is spending $250,000 to tag and track sharks on the far north coast around Byron Bay, following a series of attacks, including a fatality, in the last seven months.
In February, a Japanese man died after being attacked off Ballina, just 24 hours after another surfer was bitten at Lennox Head, south of Byron.
A fortnight ago, Craig Ison was attacked by a great white at Evans Head, a little further south, and one of the shark’s teeth was left embedded in his leg.
In early July, there were two attacks in 24 hours, leading to a major junior surfing competition being postponed. Beaches in the area have been closed on a regular basis in recent months following shark sightings.
This week photos emerged of a large tiger shark a local fisherman claims was caught 20km off the Gold Coast, to the north.
Primary industries minister Niall Blair said a range of measures are being taken in the hope it will reduce the risk of further attacks.
“I am acutely aware of the concerns of communities on the North Coast following a spate of recent shark attacks – we want to make sure we do everything we can to help,” Blair said.
Shark experts will be temporarily based on the North Coast and the campaign will include “on-water surveillance” as well as a targeted research program involving tagging and tracking local sharks in a bid to better understand shark behaviour.
DPI Fisheries boats will look for bait fish, which attract sharks, and other favourable conditions such as water temperature and currents.
A “Sharksmart” education program will also be rolled out to make ocean users aware of the dangers.
The government is also spending $100,000 on a review of new shark control technologies including deterrents and barriers. The results are due next month.
The results of the north coast research is due to be handed down in early 2016.