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Byron Shire
October 2, 2022

Minister open to potential shark cull

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File photo of a Great White Shark. (AAP)
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The federal environment minister says he is open to proposals for drum lines and a cull of great white sharks, including on the NSW north coast.

‘I absolutely put human safety first and foremost in my mind,’ Josh Frydenberg told ABC TV on Wednesday, adding that federal approval was needed for a cull or drum lines because the sharks are a vulnerable species.

His comments come following teenager Cooper Allen’s shark bite while surfing at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach on Monday.

The teen had previously told media he was opposed to culling and netting.

Wishful thinking: ASR

Vice president of Australian Seabird Rescue and Ballina Shire councillor, Keith Williams, has added his voice to the tide of opinion against the idea of a shark cull or the introduction of shark nets.

Shark nets are indiscriminate and could decimate local marine wildlife if introduced said, Mr Williams.

White sharks are oceanic and roam thousands of kilometres. The idea that killing some sharks locally might reduce the risk of attack is wishful thinking, he said.

But Mr Frydenberg’s comments have been echoed by some in the north coast surfing community, including Le Ba Boardriders president Don Munro, who told ABC this morning ‘selective control’ may be required.

Former prime Minister Tony Abbott has led the call for a cull, telling Radio 3AW yesterday that ‘if it’s a choice between people and animals, I’m on the side of the people every time’.

‘I’m lucky to surf on Sydney beaches and beaches in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong (which) since the 1940s have been protected by mesh,’ he said.

‘Now if it’s good enough for Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, for the life of me, I don’t know why it’s not good enough for the north coast of NSW.’

Mr Abbott also questioned why a commercial shark fishery had not yet been considered for the area.

Secord rejects Abbott’s call

NSW shadow minister for the north coast Walt Secord rejected Mr Abbott’s call for a cull.

‘While the safety of swimmers and surfers must always come first, it is the responsibility of the state government to find ways to protect the community,’ Mr Secord said.

‘Some north coast locals have likened swimming and surfing at dusk and dawn like dancing on a shark’s dinner plate – so it is unfair to undertake a wholesale slaughter of sharks.

‘Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has forgotten that swimming and surfing in areas of high shark populations has some inherent risk.

‘Mr Abbott’s call to undertake a shark cull is a bridge too far.’

Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also offered to extend her state’s successful shark drum lines and nets into northern NSW.

‘We have the technology, we have the skills,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.

The premier said she was concerned about the increased visitor numbers to the notorious stretch of coastline coming up to the Christmas holidays.

‘I think the NSW government has tried other methods, they have not been found to be working,’ she said.

She said there had only been one shark fatality in Queensland – off Amity Point – since 1960.

But Ms Palaszczuk said if NSW premier Mike Baird took her up on the offer, the NSW government would need to pay for the extension.

Drone pilot

Meanwhile, NSW primary industries minister Niall Blair will visit Lighthouse Beach today to announce a three-month trial of drones to scan for sharks on the north and south coasts.

The trial will use private pilots, certified by CASA, to fly the miniature aircraft, which will be flown for one hour each morning on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays only.

– with AAP

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  1. the federal minister for environment on his watch has seen our environment become deadly for shoreline water users he needs to challenge the pseudo authority the humanists and scientists espouse and establish his authority he needs to talk to shark fishermen in all states with the view to re introducing shark fishing policed by the fisheries and do his duty protect his citizens

  2. Overall the strategy that has been in place the last 12 months seems to have been highly successful. There has been only the one attack this week, down from numerous attacks 12 months prior to this time last year. Well done everyone involved. Now a question. What evidence is there that states if we culled any shark threatening humans how would that affect mankind in the future. Were raping the ocean of a food supply, isn’t that needing more attention than a protected shark breeding more and more to a point where humans are being killed, maimed and a community is under siege potentially sending businesses to the wall. White sharks aren’t the apex predator of the ocean but that’s an excuse we use not to kill them, Orca`s are and they eat White sharks for breakfast. Its inevitable that mankind will self destruct, we are the earths apex predator, lets act like it and cull sharks identified as stalking the coastline or attacking people. If we get rid of these sharks there are plenty more sharks still out there and about to breed. Remember Australia wont extinct the White shark because they live in all over the ocean. But we might save another persons life or a teenagers leg. What if it was your family.

  3. Yeah let’s kill all the sharks! Seriously? The ocean is a sharks habitat. If humans continue to enter that habitat then the risks are there. Imagine if someone said lets kill all of the Lions so humans can hike safely. Humans should be more shark-smart and not surf or swim near a river mouth, at dusk, or at dawn.

    Sharks have always been there, there are just more people in the water so we’re hearing of more incidents.

    And shark nets? Yeah lets just kill all of the turtles, dolphins & whales!

  4. If you go in the water, you are going into their domain. If you get bitten by a brown snake on a bush walk no one suggests a fatwa on snakes. It is nearly always surfers who get bitten and aren’t most attacks in the early morning? Maybe it’s time to ban early morning surfing to protect the sharks? Sharks are an important apex predator in our ecosystem and play a key role in keeping our oceans healthy It is incredibly ignorant and short-sighted to kill sharks.

  5. So much money and time and discussion and such simple solutions
    Bring back the surf watch towers – they work and are reliable

    As a note from someone that swims across the bay daily and is infuriated that we continually get pictures of large sharks on our front pages when there is an attack,
    Every day people die in horrific car accidents. Do we put pictures of cars as front page. Do we say let’s close all roads and prevent people from driving? No.

    We do need to do something to monitor them. Shark towers are a good start and relatively inexpensive and reliable. Aside from watching for shark they assist in reducing the amount of drownings etc that happen each year and don’t get nearly anywhere near the attention of the shark.

    Shame on people wanting to cull it will not make any difference they will still come.

  6. SHARKS: All our major highways are under surveillance by camera. The camera is on the end of a thin pole about 10 metres high and are about 500 metres apart. Count the number of cameras and this is proof that the cost is very low.
    And why has this sort of surveillance for sharks not been thought of when for the last 9 months all we hear of is how we are to deal with sharks.
    Every time we turn the radio on we get arguments about sharks when accident deaths on the highway is like a war zone in Syria compared to the placid and calm ocean beaches. The menace is the media.
    Someone dies every week on our roads and maybe more are injured and transported to hospital and we don’t hear about the blood on our highways. Can we please hear about the blood on our highways.
    But we hear about the blood in the ocean. Will the radio announcers stop scaring away the tourists and depleting business on our Northern Rivers and causing unemployment. Would the media like to pay the bill for the lack of business. The cameras on our highways are static, in one place and don’t move unlike drones that need someone who is bored in life to do double loops.
    If there is a problem … solve it but don’t kill the sharks, as sharks are scavengers. They clean the ocean of diseased and injured fish and animals. And isn’t the increasing disease in the world, Mankind?

  7. The attacks have occurred at various times of the day on surfers, swimmers and others. Although there are more ocean users than ever before, the escalation in attacks is way out of proportion to this human increase. We need to take decisive action, including a limited cull. If not we’ll see a return to the horror days of the 1920’s and 1930’s when Australia-wide deaths from shark attack were greater than in the last 2 decades, despite the lower human population. It’s good to see Tony Abbott finally on the right track.

  8. The only people who really know about the massive increase in white pointer number,s over last few decades are professional fishermen and professional divers in Vict and SA , 99% of every one else is just quoting someone else view point or their own un informed self opinion.
    The govt decided to protect them a long time ago and the numbers have grown of course and now there,s a dangerous problem , if you think not , well you go have a big swim out past the breakers at light house beach at dusk ., any punters ? Thought not .
    Xmas holidays are coming and Ballina shire had better stop pussey footing around and take notice of how QLD , Sydney deal with this and get a move on fast before there,s no one to protect except a few local surfers , otherwise tourists would have all gone to other destinations
    Once a child is taken then we,ll see some real action I’m quite sure but it’s a pity it will have to come to this .


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