NSW offers SMART drumlines to WA
THE NSW government will wade into the shark war that has erupted between the nation's capital and Western Australia by offering to loan the WA Government SMART drumlines following a spate of attacks.
NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair will today give the WA government the option of borrowing five nonlethal SMART drumlines free of charge, despite the state's reluctance to take up the cutting-edge technology.
It comes after Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg accused WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly of misleading the public on the drumlines by suggesting the devices did not improve safety.
Mr Blair told The Daily Telegraph it's time to "quit the talk and just get on with looking at ways to protect beachgoers".
"I just don't understand how you can argue against trialling something new - it's 2018 and the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result so maybe they don't have the courage," he said.
"It's what's in the water that matters. You can fly words around as much as you want but at the end of the day … it's got to be about the outcome."
Last week, Mr Kelly said there were "double" the number of shark attacks in NSW compared with WA over the past five years despite the use of SMART drumlines - a claim the NSW Government has refuted.
Meanwhile, the Margaret River Pro surfing competition was called off last month in the wake of two shark attacks in WA's South West that happened within hours of each other.
Mr Blair said the government was also willing to provide the help of NSW's top shark scientists if the WA Government accepted the offer.
Unlike conventional lines, SMART drumlines alert operators when a shark has been caught on a baited hook, allowing the animal to be tagged and released quickly.
NSW DPI senior research scientist Dr Paul Butcher said the SMART drum line trial was currently tracking 251 white sharks, 60 bull sharks and 36 tiger sharks.
"Since trials began in December 2016 there have been only two interactions in the area of the drum line trials - one at Kiama when the SMART drum line was out of the water and an alleged incident at Lennox Head involving a surfer wrestling a bullshark," he said.
Welcoming NSW's offer to loan the drumlines, Mr Frydenberg said he hoped the WA Government would "see sense on this issue and follow suit".
"The evidence is compelling that SMART drumlines can save lives," he said.
"For a few hundred thousand dollars SMART lines have been deployed along NSW beaches and caught more than 200 Great White Sharks in a 12 month period."