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Byron Shire
June 9, 2023

Ballina rally for those supporting shark nets

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Shark caught in a net. File photo
Shark caught in a net. File photo

North Coast community members gathering in Ballina tomorrow will be calling for one thing … shark nets.

The rally at the Ballina skate park near Missingham Bridge at 11am has been organized for some time, according to Community for Ocean Safety spokesman Don Munro, but is especially timely as it will serve to provide the alternate view to those who gathered last month to oppose the installation of shark nets along the north coast coastline.

‘We would invite all residents to join a peaceful gathering of citizens passionate about the ocean and conservation, but equally concerned about taking steps to make it safe again to live both in water and on land in our community,’ Mr Munro said in a statment.

‘We are encouraging the majority of our community to show support by physically being present on the day to ensure that the minority groups on both sides of this debate don’t sway the argument away from what we are suggesting should be a balanced approach to both human safety and marine conservation. ‘

Tomorrow's gathering in Ballina aims to counter the recent 'not nets' rally at Ballina Beach. Photo Jeff Dawson
Tomorrow’s gathering in Ballina aims to counter the recent ‘not nets’ rally at Ballina Beach. Photo Jeff Dawson

Mr Munro, who is the president of the Le-Ba Boardriders Association, told Echonetdaily that shark nets were the only proven way to reduce shark encounters, and although there was an average of 2.3 animals that died each year per beach netted, ‘we won’t put animals above human life’.

‘The nets will have whale alarms and dolphin pingers, and acoustic sounding devices sending a message when an animal is entangled.

‘A boat will be deployed as quickly as possible and the reaction time will be much greater than in Queensland and down south.’

Mr Munro said the shark attacks and encounters that had plagued coastal communities from Evans Head to Lennox Head had created a crisis situation.

Businesses were struggling, surf clubs were having problems attracting new members, and young people were wary of taking up surfing.

‘Swimming and surfing have been an Australian way of life,’ he said.

‘We would like to encourage families to attend on Saturday for a peaceful gathering.

‘We would ask that all residents and supporters of the community for ocean safety set an example of tolerance to the views of others on the day without the need to verbally or physically interact with other activist groups who have different views to those of us who want to support measures to protect our community from an increased threat from ocean predators.

‘It’s time for us to face this issue as a united community and we need everyone in our community to help us create awareness that there is a real issue that needs to be addressed by turning up on Saturday.’

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  1. There is no science in support of shark nets. Seashephards policy is firmly against this type of innovation. I trust their expertise above a frightened public over- reaction, which totally ignores the parlerous state of our oceans.
    I will NOT be seen to be supporting a patently wrong innovation, and so thank you, but I will not be attending your rally.

  2. Unfortunately installing nets does NOT represent a balance in terms of conservation. Many hundreds of harmless animals will die, and dolphin pingers and whale alarms are NOT effective. PLEASE people, look at the data and become informed about the realities of the different mitigation techniques available. Shark nets are not the answer.

    • So Simon after over a month apparently ZERO dolphins were taken in the nets. The NSW Department has been asked by The Australian but the Department will not confirm that NO dolphins have been taken. Some Councillors believe there have been none but the Department has clammed up.
      So much for your claim.
      Acoustic devices tested to make sure they do not work (deliberately) will give a negative result but tested objectively show real effects. There are lots of examples of this.
      When an idiot Manager of Queensland Shark Control quietly put a new device on Gold Coast nets there were >8 dolphins in a few days. All alarms had failed due to a battery issue so effectively there were no alarms. Mortality stopped when the previous alarm was redeployed. In reality it was the clearest example EVER that alarms can work.
      Look at the NOT supertrawler. In 6 months and 100 trawls it had taken 9 dolphins with alarms that had been shown to be junk in a FRDC project years before. After specific ones had been deployed without Government interference the dolphin bycatch was ZERO dolphin for 500 trawls.
      How is your claim now?

  3. “Businesses were struggling, surf clubs were having problems attracting new members, and young people were wary of taking up surfing.”
    Does everything have to have businessess as the core reason to do anything? Humans have many solutions to the problem and animals have to be taken into consideration. Shark watch using drones and other types of surveillance have never really been given a chance to work. Profit must take a back seat and our humanity must take precedence. Our arrogance knows no boundaries animals have rights too.


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