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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Ballina beaches closed after shark attack

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Ballina beaches have been closed for 24 hours after a man suffered a 20cm gash to his leg when he was bitten by a shark at Shelly Beach shortly before 7am.

Speaking from the beach, Ballina mayor David Wright told Echonetdaily that the 43-year-old man from East Ballina had suffered a 20cm gash to his leg but fought off the shark with his surfboard and managed to paddle himself back into shore.

He was given first aid by friends and drove himself to Ballina Hospital before being transferred Lismore Base Hospital to have gash his gash cleaned.

‘He’s OK. It’s going to take a while to make sure there’s no infection,’ Cr Wright said.

He added it was not known what type of shark was responsible for the bite.

‘Drumlines are in the water. The smart drumlines have baited hooks and one caught a 3.5m great white at the same place the other day.

‘It’s just lucky it wasn’t that,’ he said.

‘The way he was attacked it doesn’t look like a feeding thing.

‘The drones have been up but haven’t spotted anything yet – they fly 8-10 times a day,’ Cr Wright said.

Jet skis have also been deployed to survey the area.

Police say they attended the beach and liaised with Surf Life Saving NSW.

Officers seized the surf board and are liaising with Department of Primary Industries to identify the species.

Beachgoers are urged to follow safety advice, by visiting the Department of Primary Industry’s website www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/sharks and the SharkSmart app.

NSW Surf Life Saving has announced all Ballina beaches will be closed until tomorrow morning.

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  1. Off goes the media again …….I’m rolling my eyes ..it was a tiny wobbegong shark that bit him…in knee deep water, and the wound was no more than 20cm ….

  2. What ?
    Someone bitten by a shark on a Northern Rivers beach?
    How can that be ?

    We have State Government issued drones to ensure that can never happen.

    All the officials – Mayor Cr Wright, Dep Mayor Cr Williams, MLC Ben Franklin etc – all told us that nets are not needed because we have drones and smart drum-lines. Do they stand by this ?

    Sure, nets are problematic and possibly indefensible (if you choose to ignore all the waste and by-catch from the seafood industry, which remains unmentioned by the same officials – none of them wants a photo of the ‘Big Prawn’ being pulled down on their watch).

    Lets be honest about drones and drum-lines – they are not able to provide the level of protection that they are portrayed as offering.

    So Ballina (and the Northern Rivers by association) will be retaining its shark-attack prone stigma, and none of our political leaders has any real sound viable plans for overcoming it.

    What now ?
    Personal protection devices for those entering the water ?
    What other options are there ?


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