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January 18, 2022

Ballina: where dolphins are killed so people can go surfing

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Dr Daniel Bucher, senior lecturer: marine biology and fisheries, Southern Cross University, Lismore 

If, like me, you feel strongly about the proposed trial of beach meshing for sharks then please respond to the survey at dpi.nsw.gov.au/sharks.

It is only open for just over a week. Unfortunately the accompanying ‘fact sheet’ omits a few important, but inconvenient facts, but at least it shows what the nets actually look like.

For the question ‘Why do I think the effect of net trials will be negative on me, my family and the broader community?’ I answered:

  • The loss of wilderness value in the local ocean, the loss of wildlife viewing opportunity through deaths of sharks, dolphins and other marine life,
  • The loss of Australia’s reputation as a force for conservation overseas; and
  • The image of Ballina as a place where dolphins are killed so people can go surfing.

Perhaps you have any other reasons to add. By the way, that last one comes from the Ballina Chamber of Commerce.

If anyone wants to hear more about the issue of shark meshing then please come along to my presentation as part of the SCU School of Environment Science and Engineering ‘Doors Open’ program at 5:40 pm in A205 on November 8. Unfortunately, that will be after the survey closes on the 6.

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  1. I’d like to hear more and that would generally be one of the points of this article, wouldn’t it? Lismore is just too far for me atm, but I would have thought that this platform right here was a great place to make a few points, rather than being directed towards a lecture (presentation) at SCU. Opportunity missed?

  2. Ballina thanks you for the harsh and damaging headline the Echo! (Or is ‘let’s vote twice’ Jan Gilbert still reporting for you there?)
    I see you’ve tagged ‘Ballina Shark Attacks’ – why? There has not been an attack has there? Are you riding on the wave of this dilemma gathering more non locals to comment?
    You have selected the one comment that adds to the grief that all Ballina families and businesses are suffering.
    How dare you play net v surfers. It’s the surfers who are getting attacked.
    As for doctor Dan Bucher – how about you sit down with a victim or a family suffering the loss of a beloved son, surrounded by their friends, family and first responders.
    No, I didn’t think so.

  3. Daniel I am surprised that a man of your standing would make such a reckless and misleading statement as your dot point 3 about the killing of dolphins. You have lost all credibility in this shark debate by making such an incorrect statement.

  4. Ballina a place where we allow humans to be eaten alive by wild animals so that dolphins can frolick freely? Did you conveniently forget about the impact felt by all small businesses on the North Coast that rely on Tourism to earn a living to pay the bills and feed their family?

  5. Their are a few points that we seem to be missing the most.

    1. The economic impact to the area as a ” Tourist Destination ”

    2. The loss of ” HUMAN LIFE ” an the grief that is felt upon the community.

    3. The backwards thinking that seems to be missing when shark nets are installed. What are the percentages of sharks caught in nets as oppose to other marine life.

    4. One point that seems go missing when an opportunity is their to make the area a better place is having a safe environment for our children that should be placed at the very top of our agend.

  6. I’d like to personally thank the sharks for creating such fear and terror and doing what so many of us have failed to do – discourage the ever increasing number of tourists from invading our small communities.

    While I have real sympathy for the individuals and their families who had to sacrifice their lives and well-being by being bitten – this is war and maybe we should all just stay out of the water for a while – and stop fishing so natural food sources are replenished.

    Our marine life have every right to exist and tourism is destroying our environment and our communities.
    I encourage the sharks to keep eating the invading hoardes until they piss off and go home.

  7. If you remove the carnivores, the herbivores will destroy the fragile environment. This was proved in Yellowstone national park where the wolves were removed some time ago. The herbivores ate all the grass down to the roots and then started on shrubs. The area was becoming devastated until they reintroduced the wolves. Balance was regained and maintained.

    Sharks were hunted for fins, reducing their number while whales were protected, boosting their numbers. As whale numbers increase, we need an increase of their predators to control the numbers and clean up the sick and the old whales. Whales and sharks will reach a balance that allows the krill levels to be maintained.

    Having said that, can we put out a removable net for the nippers to train inside. The buoys could be permanently fixed and the Clubbies could attach nets then detached after the training session.

    If you go surfing around the river mouth or at dusk, you are taking a calculated risk. Could you imagine Canada removing all of its bears so that folk could go hiking without fear of the odd attack.

  8. Michele has a point. Also, when tourists disappear the natural balance of shop to shoppers will be regained and maintained.

    • When tourists disappear so will alot of locals. If the tourists disappear then the small businesses will shut down, those employees/owners will be forced to move elsewhere to find work. Locals don’t reguarly eat out in cafes and restaurants daily, nor do they go shopping daily, Only tourists do. Tourism in ballina is much more important that saving a few dolphin’s a year.
      Also are there any actual facts on how many dolphins die to shark nets each year? No! because it’s a lot less than you make out to be!

  9. What a waste of time, money and resources. I think I read there are 3 to 4 deaths from shark attacks over ALL OF AUSTRALIA on average per year!

    Hardly that big of an issue is it? I wonder how many people die on the roads every year?

    The law should be – ‘Enter the ocean at your own risk’…. Simple isnt it?


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