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Byron Shire
June 21, 2021

Premier promises swifter action on shark deterrents

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WSL surfer Sam Morgan remains in an induced coma in Gold Coast University Hospital following a shark attack at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach on Tuesday (November 10). Photo Facebook
WSL surfer Sam Morgan remains in an induced coma in Gold Coast University Hospital following a shark attack at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach on Tuesday (November 10).

Ballina beaches have reopened following Tuesday’s attack on WSL surfer Sam Morgan at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach.

NSW premier Mike Baird has promised quicker action on shark deterrent technology for the north coast. But he has stopped short of nominating a time-frame.

Mr Morgan remains in an induced coma at Gold Coast University Hospital after surgery following the attack.

Mr Baird has promised more surveillance, while primary industries minister Niall Blair has said nylon eco-barriers would be put into place at Lighthouse Beach ‘this summer’. But neither has so far given a date.

Mr Blair said WA trials of the eco-barrier, a wide net that stretches from the seabed to the waterline, had proven successful in stopping sharks without killing other sea creatures. But he added that it was up to the manufacturer how soon they could be installed.

‘We’ve had the meetings to determine where we are going to put them, the manufacturers then are the ones that have to build them to be site-specific,’ he told ABC.

‘If this was easy we would have had them in the water.’

Earlier, Le-Ba Boardriders president Don Munro told the network the government was ‘going round and round’ on the issue.

And Ballina mayor David Wright joined the call for something to be done ‘immediately’.

Yesterday’s shark attack was the fifth at a Ballina beach this year, including a fatal attack on Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara in February.

Nine of the 14 shark attacks in NSW this year have been on the north coast between Evans Head and Tweed Heads.

New app provides warning

The supplier of iPhone app Dorsal Shark Alert System, Allan Bennetto, said his company put out an alert about the presence of a Bull shark in the area on Tuesday afternoon.

‘We actually put out an alert at 1.07pm to all mediums (iPhone app, Facebook page, Twitter and website) about a Bull shark sighting in the river around the corner from where last night’s attack was,’ he told Echonetdaily.

‘Not that it would have necessarily deterred or prevented this attack, but we did have a mother write to someone who reposted our report to say that her son wanted to go to that exact spot in the afternoon, but went elsewhere as a result of the alert,’ he added.

Mr Bennetto said an Android version of the app has been launched today (Tuesday).

‘It will mean we have the fastest and widest shark alert communication system in the country, which while it is only a small part of the puzzle, is at least something before summer while the governments and local councils work out what they are doing about the situation,’ he added.

‘The tools are there, they are free and they are immediate and hopefully with more people on the look out and reporting more sightings we can keep everyone as informed as quickly as humanly possible.’

The iPhone app is currently available in the App Store.

Reports can also be accessed via www.dorsalapp.com.

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