ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Assessment of the attitudes of beach and ocean end-users to shark mitigation since trials of SMART Drumlines in NSW. (2018-2019)


NSW Department of Primary Industries - NSW Shark Management Strategy, $50,000

Research Theme

Rural and Regional Communities


Associate Professor Peter Simmons, Dr Michael Mehmet with contributing authors Dr Belinda Curley, (NSW DPI) and Kim Wolfenden (NSW DPI)


This collaborative study of community attitudes to shark mitigation strategies focussed on five NSW coastal towns – Ulladulla, Kiama, Forster, Coffs Harbour and Ballina - where SMART Drumlines have been trialled.

Focus group sessions were held in August and September 2018 with beach and ocean end users (swimmers, surfers, anglers, marine environment and coastal conservation, lifeguards, tourist operators and small business). Participants had the opportunity to discuss what was important to them on topics of shark risk mitigation, with a focus on attitudes to/awareness of SMART Drumlines, listening stations, and the SharkSmart App.

The over-arching research question was: “What are the attitudes of beach and ocean end-users to shark mitigation since trials of SMART Drumlines?”

The discussions highlighted the importance of engaging local communities in policy and strategy design. Although generally positive about shark mitigation, it was clear that different communities perceive different needs for mitigation, and hold different attitudes to specific approaches to surveillance and protection. Some communities desire multiple interventions, some perceive they do not have a problem with sharks and have no need for intervention.

The SMART Drumlines report is published here under Smart Drumlines Community Feedback.


Simmons, P., Mehmet, M., Curley, B. & Wolfenden, K. (2019) Assessment of the attitudes of beach and ocean users to shark mitigation following SMART drumline trials in NSW.


The findings and final report help NSW DPI to consider trends in community sentiment when deciding policy and targeting communication about policy.


Associate Professor Peter Simmons  

Dr Michael Mehmet

February 2019