Tweed Heads: drones will fly above the surf | Photo: Michael Coghlan/Creative Commons

The government of New South Wales has announced an ambitious $16 million shark surveillance plan to increase beach and surf safety.

The primary goal is to protect beachgoers and surfers. NSW's shark strategy plan includes aerial helicopter surveillance, as well as 20 high-tech listening stations positioned at known shark attack locations.

The Australian authorities will also install six barrier net trials and five clever buoy, in-water sonar technology trials, expand the shark tagging program, and publicize the SharkSmart mobile app.

"We know that the North Coast has been hurting, and some of the responses and the technologies that we will be deploying will be dedicated to the north coast," explains Niall Blair, the NSW Primary Industries Minister.

"But this is a whole-of-state response. The NSW coastline has over 2000 kilometers, and we know that what works here in Coogee may not work at some of the other beaches across the state."

The five-year program will see drones flying over the most popular NSW beaches.

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