Shark Experts on the Way to Ballina

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Ballina Mayor says help is on the way after a recent spate of shark attacks.

David Wright said he had been pressuring the Department of Primary Industries and the State Government to assist his council and others hit by a recent spate of shark attacks.

On Monday, north coast surfers made national news in their call for a shark cull.

Cr Wright said after intense pressure, the department had agreed to turn its attention to the state’s north and its shark woes.

“Starting from Monday they will be sending one person up and then during the week, as people finish the work they are doing, there will be a whole team coming up here,” Cr Wright said.

Cr Wright said the help included aerial and boat surveillance and possibly shark tagging.

He believes public pressure has forced the backflip on the Government’s shark strategy.

“Maybe the meeting on Monday night really — because it got into the national news … that helped a bit but at least they are coming and that’s fantastic.”

Cr Wright said he had been persistent in his attempts to sway the Government.

He said the department previously refused requests to help the council.

“The DPI scientists have been doing research, they are doing their stuff, but they are doing it in Sydney,” he said.

“The staff are fantastic but it’s the bureaucracy about when we ask for money for helicopter flights … ‘that will set a precedent’, and if they sent a team up, ‘that would set a precedent’.

“Well, I was a bit persistent and I wasn’t rude, but I was persistent and now they are coming, starting on Monday.”

Baird Rules Out Shark Cull

Premier Mike Baird is ruling out support for a shark cull, saying he could not imagine a circumstance in which he would support the idea.

But he said he understood the concerns of locals.

“I understand their fears — I mean, I’ve surfed those beaches, I love those beaches, but I understand why they are currently fearful,” he said.

“It’s extraordinary, the attacks and the number.”
The Premier said he was open to working with north coast communities to address the high number of shark attacks and would consider the option of nets.

“There’s a question of whether nets could play a role,” Mr Baird said.

“There are challenges that come with those. No-one likes to see marine life in any way lost, but we have pretty extreme circumstances.”

Source: ABC News

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