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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Kill permit issued after Ballina shark attack

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Ballina shark attack victim Matt Lee is in a coma at a Gold Coast hospital. (Facebook)
Ballina shark attack victim Matt Lee is in a coma at a Gold Coast hospital. (Facebook)

A state government department has issued a permit for the destruction of a shark that attacked a Ballina man near North Wall yesterday.

Matt Lee, 32, was placed in an induced coma at Gold Coast University Hospital after being bitten on both legs by a suspected great white shark just after 10am.

His two friends pulled Mr Lee from the water, using leg ropes to stop the bleeding, as locals tried to help.

As the Ballina man was fighting for his life at the Gold Coast University Hospital, helicopters throughout the day were tracking a 3 to 4 metre shark, although they lost sight of it around 4pm.

Ballina mayor David Wright said the Ballina community was stunned by the latest attack, the third in the recent years.

A shark resembling a great white, spotted by a Channel 9 helicopter near where a man was attacked by a shark at Ballina earlier today (Thursday July 2). Photo Twitter/ Channel 9
A shark resembling a great white, spotted by a Channel 9 helicopter near where a man was attacked by a shark at Ballina earlier today (Thursday July 2). Photo Twitter/ Channel 9

A shark at the same beach killed a teenager in 2008, and a Japanese surfer, Tadashi Nakahara was also killed earlier this year at nearby Shelly Beach.

Cr Wright told the ABC that it was unusual for a permit to be issued to kill the shark.

Great Whites are a protected species in New South Wales waters.

He said the kill permit was ‘something that the council and myself don’t have anything to do with’.

Meanwhile, organisers of a junior surfing event at Lennox Head have delayed the start of the event this morning to ensure the safety of the more than 300 competitors.

Skullcandy Oz Grom Comp event organiser Cameron Lindsay said today’s heats would not go ahead and decisions on the scheduling of the six-day event would be made in consultation with police, the council and the event committee.

Since 1905, there have been 33 attacks and seven fatalities in Ballina waters.

Following the attack on the Japanese surfer in February, Cr Wright told Echonetdaily that there had been no suggestions that the shark should be culled.

Instead, Ballina has been working with the noNSWsharkcull group to devise non-lethal strategies to deal with sharks

‘There’s been no thought of netting,’ he said at the time.

‘We have 15 kilometres of beaches and netting traps a lot of other things like dolphins.’

‘Not one person has mentioned to me about trying to hurt the sharks. ‘

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  1. Today, Friday, yet another shark attack, a short distance away from where kids were about to hold their surf competition.

    Is David Wright still so protective of sharks over human lives that he’ll maintain his idiotic protection order?

    When’s the next election?

  2. Absurd to kill a shark in retaliation. How do they know the shark they kill is the one that attacked this man?
    Has to be a better way to protect surfers in sharks’ domain.

  3. How sad for this unfortunate young man and his family, to be fighting for his life.
    Why was an order to kill a shark given? There are always sharks in the water in the Ballina, Tallow Beach and Byron Bay areas, as this is their natural habitat. If a shark is killed it is unlikely to be the same one that
    attacked Matt Lee. Are we now back to the stage of “An Eye for An Eye’.

  4. Nothing to do with retaliation, revenge or any of that other soppy stuff. It’s called safety and security and should be paramount in any incidents involving humans and wild life.

    It makes no difference if there’s collateral damage and the ‘wrong’ sharks get killed. There are millions of them in the oceans, they’ve been protected past their safety status.

    But I’m seeing a pattern here, there are some people who really do see them as more important than human beings. I hope you sleep easy if one of yours gets taken.

  5. Our species is not the most important / superior species on the planet! We have messed up the food chain. These big majestic predators need food. As do all other species. We are the problem.

  6. It’s a horrible situation for the family of this young man – and for the man himself, let’s hope he recovers.

    But to resort to hunting out a shark to kill in revenge is completely ridiculous. Because as someone above said, how are we going to know it’s the right shark? So in essence it’s purely a revenge killing.

    When will humans realise that WE are the problem. We encroach on habitats of other creatures and in most cases utterly destroy them either through greed or fear.

    In 110 years (1905 – 2015) there have been 33 such attacks according to this report – that is one shark attack every 3.3 years – in an area where surfers proliferate.

    We have a choice – go in the water and take a risk, or don’t. The shark doesn’t have that choice.

    We need to leave the wildlife alone and get a grip on our own self-inflated importance. We’ve done enough damage, let’s show some respect for the creatures we share this world with and stop wiping them out at

  7. Jon , on the one hand you say “Nothing to do with retaliation…” but then later “It makes no difference…and the wrong sharks get killed ” . Surely a little inconsistent . Make up your mind ….you have a foot in both camps. You’re a reactionary dressing up your argument who obviously believes in this Team Australia stuff.

  8. It is sad what happened to this young man and others before him but it is a personal tragedy. As someone else said, we have a choice to go or not go in the water but the shark does not. They are big predators and feed on large prey and they sometimes fall prey to even bigger predators themselves. That is the way it is let’s leave those creatures alone. If human lives are so precious why then do we still drive our cars when thousands of Australians are killed on the road every year and I have lost both family and friends as a result. And what about wars? There are a multitude of them at the moment, I have yet to hear any government official declare that they should be stopped immediately! By the way the Great White is a threatened species there are not millions of them but there are seven billion of us,


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