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September 21, 2021

Surfers say Ballina’s shark barrier a safety risk

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Work on a 650-metre-long shark barrier at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach starts today, but local surfers say it puts their safety at risk as it cuts right through the middle of their surf zone.

The eco shark barrier at Western Australia's Coogee Beach is similar to the one being installed at Lighthouse Beach. Photo Eco Shark Barriers
The eco shark barrier at Western Australia’s Coogee Beach is similar to the one being installed at Lighthouse Beach. Photo Eco Shark Barriers

The barrier is part of the state government’s $16 million shark management plan for the area in response to a spate of shark attacks last year, including a fatal one.

It will make Lighthouse beach the only protected beach between Gold Coast and Newcastle.

Today’s work involves laying out the weighted baseline for the mesh barrier, but surfer representatives say it should be erected further out to sea.

Surfer spokesman Mark Furnidge told the ABC today that concerns about the barrier’s precise location had been ignored.

Mr Furnidge, who has been involved in talks with Ballina Shire Council and the Department of Primary Industries, says surfers are the key stakeholders the plan is trying to protect, yet the location of the barrier makes it a safety hazard for surfers.

He feared surfers could become entangled in the barrier or that it could be a safety risk for people caught in an outgoing rip.

A similar barrier is planned to be installed at Lennox Head in June.

Meanwhile, shark patrols and aerial surveillance of beaches on the north coast, under the government’s management plan, continues till Easter.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. I have heard that sharks are more prevalent at lighthouse Beach, ballina, because it is near river mouth. Is this true? N. English

  2. the NSW government couldnt care less about a bunch of local surfers , the shark net is not intended to protect them , it’s only concern is to keep Ballina’s beaches attractive to tourists in summer and during the holidays , so the local businesses will not suffer the impact that sharks attacks can have on the community , once again it’s only a matter of money , yes , money …

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