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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Government says no to shark cull call

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The state government has ruled out a cull of north coast sharks, such as was recently called for by members of the local surfing community, but they have promised Ballina Shire Council additional resources to tackle the issue.

Ballina mayor David Wright has confirmed that, as a response to increased shark activity and community concerns, the department of primary industries will dedicate extra resources to Ballina to look at why the shark attacks are happening at such a rate and to develop strategies to avoid them.

The campaign will cost the government $250,000 and provide on-water surveillance as well as tracking and tagging sharks in the area, but not ongoing aerial surveillance.

Mayor Wright told Echonetdaily that two scientists would be arriving on Monday and more later on in the week, as they become available.

‘They’ll be bringing their boat, The Swan, up from Coffs Harbour,’ he said.

‘They will be going up in a helicopter, talking to Surf Life Saving, the police and council, maybe tagging the sharks, running a communication program and giving away packages to people about their research on sharks.

He said the program would not include ongoing shark spotting ‘at the moment’.

‘Honestly, this is what I’ve been trying to get for weeks and weeks is for somebody to come up and find out what our problem is and actually deal with it.

‘What the director-general told me yesterday is that we can virtually ask for anything but at the moment we just want to find out why they’re coming, are they the same ones and what we can do about it.’

‘He was talking about maybe conducting some trials here as well,’ Cr Wright said.

Primary industries minister Niall Blair told local media it was important to ensure the surf was safe.

‘What this does is provide the community with a measured, scientific-based approach to protect those communities and to allow all of us to do what we love doing – and that’s going to the beach,’ he told ABC radio this morning.

MP calls for sumit

Greens MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith.
Greens MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith has welcomed the $250,000 commitment.

Ms Smith said the community had been calling for support and the funds would ‘help us to learn more about local shark behaviour and ensure the public has the best information to help reduce the risk of future shark incidents.’

‘I have sought a briefing from the government on the details of the proposal and would encourage the minister to actively engage with the local Shark Mitigation Advisory Group to implement this program,’ Ms Smith said.

‘The community needs to be part of this process so we can help shape the program with local knowledge,’ she added.

‘It is important to note there is political consensus that culling sharks is not the answer and that culling and shark nets are not part of this program. Experience shows that research, surveillance and public education is the best way to keep people safe and ensure we preserve healthy and biodiverse oceans.

‘I am still calling on the government to hold some of the proposed trials of non-lethal deterrent technologies on Ballina beaches and am calling for the announced Shark Summit to be held on the north coast,’ Ms Smith said.


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  1. The WAR: Mankind Vs Nature.
    In nature all things are in balance and have been for millions of years while Man has only been in this Terra Australis for a little more than 200 years. Mankind is the problem.
    The shark is in the ocean because God put the shark there for a reason. The shark is the scavenger to keep the ocean clean. Cull the shark and you will find Mankind will have a new problem as something else in the ocean will flourish and be a pest to Mankind.
    The danger to the Great Barrier Reef is that Mankind is causing imbalance and therefore more and more things are getting out of control. What is out of control is Mankind on this planet? We need a new planet to go to that has water on it.

  2. Len, just a minor point, probably just an oversight, but I imagine you meant “…for millions of years while WHITE man has only been in this…”.

  3. FYI Mayor Wright says he feels like the mayor in the film ‘Jaws’.
    Whatever is the real life sequel to that film?
    In part….
    1. At Cape Cod, USA, tagged sharks are monitored and
    their approach to a beach raises a caution for swimmers
    but also a great interest in wildlife watchers.
    The public interest is right up there with whale and dolphin watching

    2. In addition to a number of shark sightseeing/ecotours, there is a new research centre and team
    The Chatham Shark Centre http://chathamsharkcenter.org
    There are recent news items and scientific information on this site.

    Surely we can develop new caution and knowledge about the changing coastal waters.
    The situation may change over the next months/year. The dredging of so many NSW waterways all at once this winter (an election promise delivered by the Baird government) may be contributing to this and will take time to settle, though storms and other events may keep the water churned up.

    3. Stay informed and spread the news: a good review of the situation is on the Conversation written by Chris Neff

  4. Once again..does anyone know if there was a whale buried at 7 Mile Beach ? I heard that a dead whale washed ashore aprox. the time of the attack ..and death…of the Japanese surfer in Ballina and the attack on a surfer called “Bez” at 7 Mile. It may have been buried there shortly afterwards. If so ..would it leach into the ocean and attrack sharks?


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