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Shark medical pack set for NSW north coast

AAP logoAAP 1/08/2016 Ethan James

A unique medical pack that may help beachgoers save people from potentially life-threatening shark attacks will be trialled at a northern NSW beach.

An initiative between local council and environmental group Sea Shepherd Australia, the Shark Attack Pack will be available at Wategos Beach, near Byron Bay, from September.

The pack, which costs around $100 to put together, includes bandages, tourniquets and emergency blankets.

Natalie Banks, national shark campaign coordinator for Sea Shepherd Australia, says the packs are designed to be left at remote beaches where medical help can take time to arrive.

"People die from bleeding out rather than from the shark bite," she told AAP on Monday.

"People can survive if given medical treatment in a timely manner."

Waters off the northern NSW coast are a noted shark hot spot, with nine attacks occurring along a 70km stretch between Byron Bay and Evan's Head in 2015.

Japanese tourist Tadashi Nakahara died after being bitten by a shark off Shelley Beach, near Ballina, in February last year.

The NSW government ordered the construction of an 800m shark barrier at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach in November after a junior surfing champion was bitten on the leg.

But Byron Shire Council Mayor Simon Richardson says the packs, combined with shark spotting efforts, are a better fit for the area than artificial barriers.

"Our community views the ocean with wonder and respect ... focusing on spotting sharks, not impeding or interfering with them aligns with our values," he said.

Ms Banks says the pack is the first of its kind in Australia and hopes they can be rolled out throughout the region.

She said there are plans to hold training sessions to teach people correct medical techniques.

Sea Shepherd will have the first pack on hand at Wategos Beach during a two-week shark spotting trial next month.

A NSW Department of Primary Industries Report in 2015 found shark spotting was the most effective "emerging technology" in shark detection but was critical of its effectiveness at longer beaches.

There have been three unproved non-fatal shark attacks in NSW to July this year, according to Taronga Zoo's annual shark attack report.

In April, a large shiver of sharks was filmed feasting on bait fish at Wategos Beach.

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