WHITE POINTER: This 2.8m female white shark was tagged on Wednesday afternoon 200m off Evans Head. Three others of a similar size were tagged and released the day prior by the DPI.
WHITE POINTER: This 2.8m female white shark was tagged on Wednesday afternoon 200m off Evans Head. Three others of a similar size were tagged and released the day prior by the DPI. NSW DPI

Shark detectors destroyed by storms at NSW beaches

ANYONE swimming at beaches at Kingscliff, Lennox Head or Forster after the weekend's wild weather may not be notified if tagged sharks are nearing the coastline.

The giant swells and pummelling waves accompanying recent storms have terminally damaged shark-detecting VR4G listening stations at each of the sites.

The satellite receivers were installed early this year after a series of shark attacks on the North Coast.

They can detect and track the movements of tagged sharks to alert swimmers and lifeguards if the sharks come within about a 500m radius of the machine.

"Though the listening stations are designed to weather the impacts of large swells and storms, the severity of the East Coast Low was extreme and unexpected with it being the worst storm to hit the NSW coast in 30 years," a spokesman for Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said.

"Three VR4G listening stations have been damaged and will need to be replaced.

"These are located at Kingscliff, Lennox Head and Forster.

"All other listening stations are working as normal."

The departmental spokesman said shark nets further south in NSW had escaped damage because they were only in the water from September to April.

Ballina and Lennox Head are scheduled to receive shark nets this year, following months of delays.

Smart drum lines are also in line for trials, adding a satellite notification system to old baited drum line technology so Fisheries officers are alerted when a shark or other marine animal is caught.

Baited drum lines are in use in Queensland and have caught almost 4200 sharks in six years.

There has only been one shark fatality in Queensland since the state began its baiting and netting program in 1962. -ARM NEWSDESK


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