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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Fencing out sharks the only solution

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The NSW Governmentt has announced $16 million funding for shark control, including further shark tagging, aerial surveillance, $7 million for ‘further research into how to keep our beaches safe from sharks’, and the installation of six shark barrier net trials.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith is quoted as saying: ‘No technology can completely eliminate the risk of a shark bite, but this response will make a significant difference.’

Her statement is a reiteration of some other politician’s, and is incorrect.

It’s like saying that a fence at a zoo will not eliminate the risk of being attacked by a lion.

How many people would take their family to the zoo, if that was the case? Shark barriers are 100 per cent effective.

Hong Kong installed 22 of them after a series of fatal attacks in the 1990’s, and there hasn’t been a single attack or encounter since.

The shark barriers cost around $250,000 each, so $16 million would fund 64 barriers, which would protect almost every surf spot along the whole east coast.

Shark tagging is inhumane, expensive, and useless.

We already know that the dangerous shark species are dangerous, what other information of any real value is monitoring going to provide? Inserting electronic equipment with a battery life of 10 years into living creatures is a travesty.

Let the scientists experiment on themselves if they want to surgically implant battery-powered six-inch long metal cylinders into each other and see if they become more aggressive and unpredictable in their behaviour.

Aerial surveillance is harmless but also expensive and without much merit.

Sharks swim great distances at high speed, and the water is not always clear.

Even after an attack, the shark cannot usually be located from the air or land.

The $16 million should all be spent on the only real answer to the shark threat, exactly in the same way that zoos protect visitors from lions, tigers and bears – placement of permanent barriers .

Mark Abriel, Byron Bay

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  1. Mark,
    There are two parts to the story. There is the physical part and you have explained that quite well that a fence at the Hong Kong Zoo can stop lions from attacking the public.
    But, there is the emotional, psychological and legal part. And that comes to Insurance and an assurance from fear of harm.
    The Hong Kong Zoo although knowing that lions could not harm the public because the physical fence is there, I bet they would not let their Public Liability Insurance lapse, and in that insurance protection policy for the public it could be that the public would be protected legally from being eaten by lions or mauled or scratched because of tetanus. Accidents do happen when you least expect it.
    Australian naturalist Steve Irwin who know everything there was known about crocodiles died too young. He died from the barb of a sting ray.


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