Shark bite trauma kits and training will be provided to more than 110 NSW boardrider clubs and 55 surf schools, the government announced at Manly Beach this morning.
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall made the announcement at North Steyne in Manly alongside Manly MP James Griffin and Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden. Surfing NSW will receive $500,000 in funding to roll-out the plan, which also includes a new fleet of drones for shark detection at surf events.
The trauma first aid kits have been designed by TacMed Paramedics and Military Medics, using approved equipment developed by multiple militaries, law enforcement and ambulance agencies globally. The big game changer is the tourniquet which helps prevent massive blood loss, one of the main reasons those bitten die within just a few minutes.
TacMed CEO and former Australian Army Special Operations Medic Jeremy Holder said he thinks some deaths from shark bites could have been prevented had they had the right equipment in place. “These kits could potentially be the major difference between life and death,” he said.
“A shark attack on a regional or unpatrolled beach can lead to a life-threatening bleed and quickly become fatal,” Holder said. “Oftentimes, you have three to five minutes to stop the bleed and with ambulance response time being an average of 11 minutes, these kits provide simple tools that are backed by years of successful battlefield medicine data and can ultimately assist in saving a life. The trauma first aid kits are small, lightweight, clearly labelled and designed to be deployed in the critical first few minutes after a major incident.”
“Sadly, most recent shark attack victims have been surfers, so this investment is about doing everything we can to ensure they get help quickly,” the agriculture minister added.
“NSW has the largest shark management program anywhere across the globe and this is just another tool to help keep swimmers and surfers safe at the best beaches in the world.”
Days numbered for “meshed” beaches
The Minister reiterated that the government’s shark management program for the upcoming season would include shark spotting drones across 50 beaches, listening stations to detect tagged shark, 170 SMART drumlines, a Sharksmart app providing education programs and “continuation of 51 shark nets between Newcastle and Wollongong.”
Asked whether the government would consider removing the sharknets due to their devastating impact on other marine species – on the Northern Beaches alone there have been several whales caught or killed along our coastline in recent history – the minister initially pointed to their being only one shark attack on netted beaches in recent history; evidence they were effective.
However, when pressed again Mr Marshall said he did think the shark nets days were numbered but the government wanted more time to observe the efficacy of its new programs before removing the old.
You can view that exchange here:
Shortly after the press conference Manly Observer was contacted by Humane Society International regarding the minister’s comments.
“A lack of fatalities at netted beaches is a result of improved emergency training, procedures, and response times, and that netted beaches are not in remote locations. There have been 34 shark bites at netted beaches, they do not reduce the risk of shark bite,” Humane Society marine biologist Lawrence Chlebeck said.
“We congratulate the progress made by DPI in trialling new, effective, non-lethal technologies to reduce the risk of shark bite such as drone surveillance and SMART drumlines. These are far more effective than shark nets, which provide nothing more than a false sense of security and come at a great cost to marine wildlife. Dolphins, turtles, sharks and rays are entangled and killed in the nets.The time to end their use for good is now.”
You can read our previous coverage on shark nets here.
The NSW Government encourages beachgoers to be SharkSmart when entering the ocean and download the SharkSmart app.
For more information, visit www.sharksmart.nsw.gov.au.
If you’re a club or surf school interested to know more about the new trauma kits contact Surfing NSW https://surfingnsw.com.au/news/all or watch the walk through from this morning below: