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Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

Mayor rules out netting Byron Bay beaches

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Photo Tao Jones
The police operation at Clarkes Beach on Tuesday. Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson has ruled out council support for netting Byron Bay beaches. Photo Tao Jones

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson has expressed his condolences to family members of Paul Wilcox, who died in a shark attack at Clarkes Beach on Tuesday.

But the mayor has emphatically ruled out council support for the netting of Byron Bay beaches in response to the tragedy.

All beaches in Byron Shire remain closed until midday Thursday (11 September).

Byron Shire Council has provided additional funding for lifeguards to keep people out of the water but full-time lifeguard patrols of Byron Bay beaches will not recommence until 29 September.

Cr Richardson said the Byron Shire community was in shock over the attack.

‘On behalf of our community, our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members, friends and work colleagues. It was a day of disbelief,’ he said yesterday.

He also thanked emergency services personnel ‘and people on the beach who rallied to help out.’

Cr Richardson said the shire’s beaches were ‘renowned for their beauty and are key part of who we are and our laidback beach culture.’

‘Naturally when something like this occurs a response, out of fear, is to question should our beaches be netted.

‘However it’s important to remember that yesterday’s tragic event is a very rare occurrence and netting could have devastating effect on the marine life.

‘Whilst netting is not a council responsibility, I don’t believe that it would be widely supported in our community and should not be considered within a stunning marine park on our doorstep.

‘The ocean belongs to our marine life and our respect, passion and how we interact with it will, for many, be an individual choice,’ he said.

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  1. Thankyou for your leadership Mr Richardson, may other councils follow your lead supported by your succinct and loving words: ‘The ocean belongs to our marine life and our respect, passion and how we interact with it will, for many, be an individual choice,’ and remove their nets.
    The ocean was not made for human desires, passions or theft through fishing, surfing, board-riding or other choices,
    Condolences to the family, a life lived fully I am sure, best wishes to Paul for a smooth transition.

  2. Could the photographer please resist taking a photo of a bodybag – on the beach in future – how distasteful for the family & friends of Paul Wilcox.
    We are bombarded by television news (if you watch it) each night of atrocities, war & suffering, lets not start the trend in our beloved Echo.

  3. Thank you, Kamala, for expressing this. I agree with you 2and I’m sure very many others in the community do too. ‘Sensationalising’ traumatic events and experiences does no good whatsoever!
    – Carmel Liertz


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