Ballina’s mayor David Wright has been excluded from a shark summit in Sydney tomorrow but is confident that a further summit in October will provide answers to the shark menace threatening the far north coast.
Cr Wright said tomorrow’s summit would be attended by up to 70 scientists from around Australia and the world, looking at the best ways to deter sharks.
He also rejected suggestions from a fellow councillor, Robyn Hordern, made during last week’s council meeting, that the threat of sharks in Ballina was being exaggerated.
Cr Hordern made that comment that there had only been two attacks in Ballina, yet every media report on sharks made mention of Ballina as a hotspot, which was having a negative impact on local businesses.
But Cr Wright said the situation along the coastline was unprecedented.
‘The helicopter has had to get people out of the water 35 times in the past five or six weeks,’ he said.
‘The head of the Department of Primary Industries has said that they have never seen such an aggregation of sharks, baitfish and dolphins,’ he said.
‘As soon as the baitfish go and the whales pass back this way it could remain the same.’
Cr Wright said tomorrow’s summit would be looking at new technologies that could maybe be utilised on local waters.
He said they included magnetic devices and an ‘eco-barrier’ which uses a type of fibre that doesn’t catch any by-catch.
Cr Wright said he was not upset at being excluded from the Sydney summit, despite having taking hundreds of calls from media on the issue in recent months, and also paying for some aerial surveillance from his own pocket.
‘I expected to be invited but I’m not the chair of our shark advisory committee, Cameron Lindsey (police officer) is,’ he said.
‘We should have a report back from Cameron on Wednesday on the summit, and the local chamber of commerce has been conducting a survey of businesses, which closed last Friday, which provide us with further information on the impact on businesses,’ he said.
The summit in Ballina will be held on October 14, and will be followed by a public forum at a date to be announced.
More stories on the NSW shark summit
Ballina beaches should be among the first to trial some of the new shark repellent technologies being discussed at today’s shark summit in Sydney, according to Ballina MP Tamara Smith.
Ballina's mayor David Wright has been excluded from a shark summit in Sydney tomorrow but is confident that a further summit in October will provide answers to the shark menace threatening the far north coast.
Ballina business owners have until tomorrow to have their say on how shark attacks in the area have impacted on their businesses.