Evans Head shark alarm due in next couple of weeks

THERE will be a shark alarm system operating at the Evans Head Surf Lifesaving Club by mid-November, says Richmond Valley chief executive John Walker.

And it is likely that the local marine rescue unit at Razorback Lookout will participate in the warning program, as long as the sound of a loud alarm doesn't interfere with an emergency radio call.

The plan is to have an alarm that can be activated by lifesavers, police or even a third-party private security firm, in the event of a shark sighting at Main Beach.

Initially Marine Rescue NSW raised concerns that a shark alarm located at the Razorback lookout radio room - and activated by a third party - could pose a noise risk to emergency marine radio communications if not set up correctly.

"Monitoring the water for sharks is not our core business," said Marine Rescue spokesman Dean Storey, indicating that listening out for and responding to emergency distress calls on the radio network took precedence.

"But considering where we are located at Evans Head, if we are in a position to help we will."

Mr Storey said his organisation was happy to have further discussions with the council on the matter.

Meanwhile, Rod Kinnish, president of Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Association, said local pilots could offer a warning service from the air for as little as $10/hr.

Already aircraft flying along the coast between Cape Byron and the Clarence are advised to phone Triple-0 if they spy a shark.

Rod admitted aerial surveys were not completely reliable because as soon as a plane flies past, it's Murphy's Law that a shark will surface immediately behind it.

"It's more of a feel-good thing for the people on the beach," he said.



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