19.7 C
Byron Shire
November 30, 2021

Ballina rejects report from South African shark experts

Latest News

Lismore Councillor candidate bios – Group A: Labor

The Echo asked all the Lismore election Councillor candidates to send in a bio. First cab off the rank was current Councillor Darlene Cook and Group A.

Other News

Shovel ready project

Ready-to-go 100 per cent green community power at a solar farm will be over 30 per cent more efficient...

Public access to Bruns foreshore reduced by Reflections, say residents

Brunswick Heads residents are concerned that the managers of the Terrace Reserve Holiday Park are failing to stick to a court-ordered plan for the park, resulting in a potential loss of public access to the precious Brunswick River foreshore.

Entries open for Byron All Shorts

It wouldn't be summer if you didn't sit in a cool, dark theatre and watch the Byron All Shorts program. Local filmmakers are invited to enter their short films to be screened in February as part of Flickerfest 2022 at Mullumbimby Civic Hall.

Ballina council votes for waterfront affordable and social housing

The Ballina Shire Council has voted unanimously to ask for state government commitment on waterfront affordable and social housing as part of a marina upgrade.

Give them a doggie inch…

Your article on dogs (17 November) is a sad reminder of the adage… give them an inch and they...

NSW public schools to strike December 7 

The president of the NSW Teachers Federation announced on Saturday morning that NSW public school teachers and principals will go on strike one day next week.

The Shark Spotters program uses flags to warn beach users of the presence of sharks. (Sea Shepherd)
The Shark Spotters program uses flags to warn beach users of the presence of sharks. (Sea Shepherd)

Darren Coyne

Only a handful of beaches in Ballina and Byron shires were deemed suitable for a ‘shark spotters’ program by visiting South African experts.

But a majority of Ballina Shire councillors recently voted to not even receive a report from the experts, who toured the region visiting beaches.

Nevertheless, a copy of the report sent to Echonetdaily reveals that Lennox Head and Boulders Beach are ranked as ‘good’ and ‘medium’, and should be subjected to further investigation.

Wategoes, Broken Head and the Pass in Byron Shire were deemed ‘good, while Little Wategoes and Cosy Corner were ranked ‘medium’.

The rankings relate to such things as elevation and depth of water, which determine whether observation towers could be used to spot sharks.

Lighthouse Beach, where an eco-barrier is set to be installed, was ranked as ‘poor’ because of its location next to the river mouth, and no elevation, while North Shelley Beach, Evans Main Beach and Sharpes Beach were also ranked as poor.

Cr Keith Williams had lodged a notice of motion at the last meeting of the Ballina council, asking that the council consult with relevant authorities and ‘receive a report investigating the establishment of a local shark spotting program, as an addition to the existing shark mitigation measures’.

The motion was lost, as was a follow-on motion by Cr Jeff Johnson that the council simply receive the report.

The South African Shark Spotters said it was not ‘possible to categorically determine if shark spotting will work at a location after just one site visit, rather one is able to say that the site shows potential, and that further investigation needs to be carried out to confirm if it is a suitable spotting location’.

‘We recommend that sites listed as either good or medium for spotting potential are subject to a feasibility assessment, where a trained observer spends a substantial period of time at a location (minimum 2 weeks) under varying environmental conditions to evaluate the site and identify the limitations and factors affecting spotting conditions specific to that area,’ they said.

‘The results of this assessment need to be objectively examined to determine if it is a suitable spotting location. ‘

The South Africans also suggested the following.

* Signage informing water users of shark risk before entering the water and simple tips on how to minimize the risk.

*Signage noting the last shark sighting and/or factors indicating a possible increased likelihood of shark activity so that water users are aware of potential increased risk.

*Establishment of a shark sightings communication network in each region to record shark sightings and share with relevant authorities and the public.

*Partner with research organisations to better understand shark behavior and ecology in an area in order to inform public safety policy with current and accurate scientific information.

*Educating water users around factors affecting shark activity and the presence of sharks in an area so that people are able to understand the risk and make informed decisions when entering the water

* Introduction of shark attack first aid kits at beaches, especially at remote locations, to improve medical response in the event of a shark bite, thereby reducing fatalities.

* Public education around the importance of conserving sharks and the necessity of a non-lethal approach to shark attack mitigation.



Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Since when does anybody need an input from ‘ South African experts.’
    Blind Freddy can see that the ocean has resident sharks, as part of a magnificent ecosystem dating back
    hundreds of millions of years. Science, as yet, has VERY little understanding of the complexity and the essential services carried out by these systems.
    Until we understand the Ocean an awful lot better -leave it alone !!!!
    If you don’t have the guts to take the minuscule risk of shark attack – stay out of their home.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Gladys just doesn’t get it? Bullshit.

The rules are lost to the dark art of time, but when I was younger, we used to play a card game called ‘Bullshit’...

Flood warning for Richmond and Wilsons Rivers

A deepening low pressure trough through the northeast of the state is expected to bring rain and thunderstorms during Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the State Emergency Service.

Storms and rain for Tuesday and Wednesday in the Northern Rivers

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is predicting widespread thunderstorms and rain for the Northern Rivers.

Byron candidates 2021 Q&A part 2

Buckle in, seats upright, and loosen the belt!  It’s time to see what candidates have to say – in full – about our collective issues...