The Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation (NBRF) launched the Surf Safe Noosa campaign today at the Noosa Heads Surf Lifesaving Club in collaboration with Noosa World Surfing Reserve and the Queensland Government Shark Control Program.
This innovative shark safety campaign includes an interactive spinning seasonal calendar and key safety messages developed from a series of local workshops held in August last year, facilitated by shark behaviour expert, Dr Andrew Chin of James Cook University.
“We worked with knowledgeable Noosa locals to build a picture of the conditions that affect shark behaviour in Noosa, giving both local surfers and tourists alike the information they need to make their own judgements before going out in the surf.
“While the risk of being bitten by a shark is extremely low, they share our waters too, alongside other iconic marine species such as whales, dolphins and rays. It’s up to all of us to make informed decisions about how we use these areas and interact with our marine species”, Dr Chin said.
Noosa World Surfing Reserve (NWSR) Steering Committee President Kirra Molnar said these resources support the NWSR Surfing Code which teaches all water users the importance of sharing and respecting others while in the surf.
“The seasonal calendar game is designed to be a fun activity to help our young surfers learn how to read the local conditions. We share the ocean with our marine life and need to understand how to be safe in the water, said Ms Molnar.
NBRF Executive Coordinator, Sharon Wright, said the campaign is a result of NBRF’s Marine Species Protection symposium held in 2021 which was attended by representatives from state and local government, national marine conservation groups, local surfers, Noosa Heads Surf Lifesaving Club, Surf Lifesaving Queensland and international shark experts.
“Of the four recommendations put forward to the Queensland Government, public education was the highest priority identified by symposium participants.
“It is a very sensitive topic in a tourist town such as Noosa, our aim is to preserve all marine species while ensuring public safety is paramount. We hope this campaign will help locals and tourists alike to assess the risks before going out into the surf and other waterways in Noosa”, said Ms Wright.
Noosa Council Fauna Management Project Officer, David O’Gorman, says Council supports The Surf Safe Noosa campaign delivered on behalf of Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
“Increasing community awareness of marine fauna within our adjacent coastal waters aligns well with Council’s conservation aims”, said Mr O’Gorman.
Noosa Heads Surf Lifesaving Club President Ross Fisher has been involved in the campaign since its development began at the NBRF Marine Symposium held in 2021.
“I have been part of this excellent educational initiative since its inception and am happy to provide the cooperation of the Club where required to see the project come to fruition,” Mr Fisher said.
In response to the recommendations of the NBRF Marine Symposium, the Queensland Government, in partnership with SLSQ, has also commenced SharkSmart drone trials in Noosa this summer. SLSQ drone operators have undertaken 274 flights flying a total of 110km along Main Beach. Three small sharks (<2m) have been sighted between 06/11/22-19/01/22.
The Surf Safe Noosa campaign launches this week at the Noosa Heads Surf Lifesaving Club. Copies of the seasonal calendar and game wheel can be found at the Hastings St Visitor Information Centre adjacent to the Surf Club and selected surf shops next month.
To find out more about the NBRF Marine Symposium and to get your copy of the seasonal calendar poster, go to Surf Safe Noosa – Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation | Noosa, Qld
To check out the NWSR Surfing Code go to: Shortboard and Longboard Code | Noosa World Surfing Reserve – Share. Respect. Preserve.
For more information about the SharkSmart drone trial, visit https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/shark-control-program/shark-control-equipment/drone-trial
For more information about being SharkSmart, go to qld.gov.au/sharksmart