NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Bite Club, Surfing NSW, Surf Life Saving NSW and the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program are coming together to host a community support session in Port Macquarie on Tuesday 19 September.
Dave Pearson, shark attack survivor and founder of Bite Club, said a shark incident may impact people’s mental and emotional wellbeing, so it’s important we stay connected with family, friends and the wider community.
“In response to the recent shark incident at Lighthouse Beach, a community support session is being held from 6.30pm on Tuesday 19 September at the Port Macquarie Life Saving Club,” Mr Pearson said.
“Different events affect people in different ways, but positive social connections are important for overall wellbeing and can help us to cope during difficult times.
“If you have questions following the recent shark incident, please come along and have a chat to us at the community support session.
“We will have information about sharks and beach safety for those who want to learn more, as well as mental support available.”
The Shark Incident Community Support Program is an initiative between DPI, the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program, Bite Club, Surfing NSW and Surf Life Saving NSW to support coastal communities following a fatal or serious shark incident to help educate and recover.
This initiative enables the agencies and organisations involved to provide information about the NSW Shark Management Program along with mental health support to the local surfing and wider community.
DPI Deputy Director General Sean Sloan said the NSW Shark Management Program continues to be the world’s largest investment and suite of shark management tools and technologies.
“There are no 100% guarantees and no silver bullet when it comes to shark mitigation, but the NSW Shark Management Program is continuing mitigation programs to reduce the risk of shark interactions through detection, using drones and tagged shark listening stations, and interception using SMART drumlines and shark nets,” Mr Sloan said.
“Alongside the shark mitigation measures and research, community engagement, education, and social research continue to play a critical role in informing the approaches to shark mitigation.”
For more information on the Shark Management Program please visit www.sharksmart.nsw.gov.au/current-program.