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Byron Shire
April 20, 2021

Ballina beaches reopen but surfer remains critical

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Surfer Craig Ison arrives at Lismore Base Hospital after being attacked by a shark at Evans Head on Friday. Photo supplied
Surfer Craig Ison arrives at Lismore Base Hospital after being attacked by a shark at Evans Head on Friday. Photo supplied

Update, Monday 10:16am:  Ballina beaches have reopened after an anxious weekend that included several shark sightings off the coast following the attack on Evans Head surfer Craig Ison at Evans main beach on Saturday.

Mr Ison remains in a critical condition in Gold Coast University Hospital, where he was transported on Saturday after his condition worsened following emergency surgery at Lismore Base Hospital on Friday.

Evans Head beaches reopened yesterday but Ballina beaches remained closed as a result of the sitings on Saturday afternoon.

A Surf Life Saving NSW spokesperson told Echonetdaily that ‘beach closed’ signs were in the process of being removed from Ballina beaches this morning and that beach-goers should exercise caution if entering the water.

Original report : A surfer remains in a critical condition in hospital following a savage attack by a great white shark at Evans Head main beach on Friday.

The condition of 52-year-old Craig Ison deteriorated following an emergency operation at Lismore Base Hospital on Friday. On Saturday Mr Ison was airlifted to Gold Coast University Hospital.

Another surfer, Mat Lee, also remains in a critical condition in the same hospital after his encounter with a great white at Ballina last month.

Tweed Heads surfing star Mick Fanning has announced  that he would donate the proceeds of his interview on Channel 9’s 60 Minutes last night, about his encounter with a shark in South Africa, to Mr Lee.

Beaches from Lennox Head to Lighthouse Beach at Ballina were closed on Saturday (August 1) following further sitings since the attack on Mr Ison at Evans Head on Friday.

Aerial surveillance of  beaches from Broken Head to south Ballina beach on Sunday morning sighted two sharks  at south Ballina beach south of the wall just behind the breakers, according to the Ballina Shark Reports Facebook page.

Ballina beaches will remain closed until at least later this morning (Monday, August 3)

At Evans Head, beaches from Airforce Beach to Chinamans Beach are open; however, swimmers and surfers are advised to remain vigilant while in the water, and to heed advice from authorities.

Founder of the  Surfrider Foundation, Brad Farmer, has called on the premier and prime minister to consider a national strategy to reduce the incidence of shark attack.

Mr Farmer said there was an urgent need for ‘more sophisticated strategies’.

‘You can’t go in the water with the risk of being attacked by a shark. Certainly they need protection but there need to be more sophisticated mechanisms – beyond drumlines and baiting – to help save lives,’ he old ABC radio this morning.

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  1. One question Brad Farmer … why do you believe humans have a greater right than sharks to inhabit the ocean? If you want to know why these incidents are occurring take a look at human behaviour, not the sharks’ behaviour. What we clearly need is some factual public education on shark ecology and behaviour. That way, humans will have more of an understanding on why there are certain times they should stay out of the water.


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