Ballina Shark Net Trial Endorsed by Council

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Today the Ballina Council endorsed the proposed shark net trial and asked that it be expanded to include the six beaches major beaches between Ballina and Lennox Head.

The issue has divided the community, with hundreds of people protesting in Ballina last weekend against the meshing plan.

A day later a 36-year-old man was bitten on the leg while surfing at nearby Broken Head — the third shark attack in the region this month.

Former Greens’ councillor turned independent, Jeff Johnson, spoke in favour of netting.

He told the meeting 40 great white sharks had so far been hooked on the smart drumlines that were deployed in the region late last year.

Cr Johnson said only two of those animals had previously been tagged.

“If a few great white sharks die, so be it,” he said.

“Sorry, as a regular beachgoer my primary concern isn’t for the great white sharks, it’s for our community and for our children.

“I’m not sure why there is such an outcry over killing sharks.
“The Great Barrier Reef has a shark fishery.

“There is clearly an abundance of sharks in our area, so a limited shark fishery could also complement the monitoring and information gathering process.”

Keith Williams was one of two councillors who voted against the shark net motion.

He told the meeting the nets were no guarantee of safety, but rather an ineffective form of culling.

“They do kill things, including sharks,” Cr Williams said.

“[But] 80 per cent of what they kill won’t be sharks, it will be other creatures.

“If we want to talk about culling sharks, then let’s talk about culling sharks — let’s not talk about denuding the entire marine environment so that we get some.”
But councillor Phillip Meehan told the meeting that the meshing experience in Sydney showed the danger to other marine life had been exaggerated.

“Two-point-three animals as unwanted bycatch in the 51 nets, that’s per net averaged over a season in Sydney,” he said.

Source: ABC

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