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Calls for more mitigation after ‘big sharks seen’ in the NSW region

Sharks caught on the baited lines are tagged and typically head offshore after release. They trigger alerts if they swim near detectors placed close to popular beaches.

“Our stance is whatever they recommend … we follow the lead of the DPI,” Mr Keough said, adding mitigation support such as drones would also be useful to aid the search for missing people or to help prevent drownings.

A large shark was filmed swimming nearby following the attack on Mr Pedretti. Other sharks have been reported in the area in the days since.

A large shark was filmed swimming nearby following the attack on Mr Pedretti. Other sharks have been reported in the area in the days since.Credit:Nine News

James Owen, a Tweed Shire councillor, said he would write to Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall, to seek access to drones and drumlines for the region. The aerial and drone surveillance ended on May 31.

While crews missed the chance to tag or kill the shark that attacked Mr Pedretti on Sunday, they would never be able to tag and track all the sharks that swim in their region and so ongoing monitoring is needed, Mr Owen said.

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“There are thousands of other sharks that are not tagged and probably never will be,” he said, adding that shark nets “have moved off the agenda”.

A DPI spokeswoman confirmed staff had visited the area this week to determine the effectiveness of deploying SMART drumlines to catch, tag and release further offshore any sharks but “current sea conditions do not permit this”.

The department was examining results of other trials, such as the use of drumlines off Evans Head and Ballina-Lennox Head to the south of Kingscliff.

“There are no plans to install shark nets in this region,” she said.

Brian Currie, a friend of Mr Pedretti, said the family was trying to plan a paddle out to distribute some of his ashes if they can get an exemption from coronavirus restrictions. The group would leave from the Gold Coast town of Tugun where Mr Pedretti lived.

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Mr Currie said his friend had narrowly avoided an encounter about 20 years earlier when Mr Pedretti was forced to “surf over the top” of a large bull shark to get to the safety of the beach.

In Sunday’s attack, the 3-metre shark brushed past a 13-year-old surfer as it honed in on Mr Pedretti. “It was just bad luck,” Mr Currie said. “If it had been an 11 or 13-year-old [who died] that would have been even more wrenching,” he said.

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