Australia’s government open to shark cull on NSW north coast

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The federal government has signalled it would consider a on the New South Wales north coast after a teenage surfer was mauled by a great white.

It comes as the NSW government announces a new three-month trial of shark-spotting drones for the area, and additional drum lines off the coast.

The federal environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, said he was open to proposals for a cull of great white sharks, despite it being and protected and .

A spotted off Ballina’s Lighthouse beach on the NSW north coast after an attack on 17-year-old surfer Cooper Allen on Monday. Photograph: Sharksmart/AAP

“I absolutely put human safety first and foremost in my mind,” he told ABC TV, adding that the measures would need federal approval because sharks are a vulnerable species.

His comments came after former prime minister Tony Abbott had called for shark nets to be installed at the beaches.

Cooper Allen, 17, survived Monday’s attack with a few stitches after he was bitten in the leg by a near-four-metre shark while surfing off Ballina’s Lighthouse beach.

Cooper Allen’s injured leg following a shark attack on Monday. Photograph: Channel 7/AAP

The NSW primary industries minister, Niall Blair, will travel to the coastal town on Wednesday to discuss the state government’s current shark mitigation strategy with concerned community figures.

Blair defended the current measures, saying he didn’t believe they had failed.

“What we’ve got here is a suite of measures we haven’t seen before in NSW,” he said. “It’s a trial period and we will continue to look for a range of solutions for this age-old issue,” he said.

Cooper Allen, 17, who was surfing at Ballina’s Lighthouse beach on Monday when a shark bit him on the leg. Photograph: Facebook/AAP

The Baird government’s next phase of drone trials will involve up to three flights a day on beaches over the north and south coast.

Eight additional drum lines will also be deployed on the north coast.

“I’ll be meeting with community members to discuss the way forward. If there’s anything we can do better, we will,” Blair said.

Lighthouse beach was one of two sites where a shark barrier trial was called off over winter after the barriers failed to withstand rough conditions.

Five of the 11 attacks in northern NSW since January 2015 have occurred at Ballina beaches, including one involving the death of Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara last year.

Legislation prohibits great white sharks being culled in NSW.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 28 Sep 2016.


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george mira

As is all-too-common among humans, with every new technology usable for targeting wild species (whether giant redwoods under motorized saws or sharks under fat guys with computer screens), drone enthusiasts want to imitate Obama in Southwest Asia: As a surfer hailing from the 1960s, I find the attempt to domesticate oceans, turning them into arenas for exclusive human competition disgusting. The ocean was once a vast Serengeti, and even before we knew scientifically that whiteys favored rocky, pinniped-frequented coasts, certain areas were spooky. I’m writing from a coast during the month we call “Sharktober” after the month of “Sharktember”, the… Read more »

george mira

And, of course, I neglected to mention that humans are NOT predators; we are merely a squabbling mass of omnivore chimpanzees flailing in water, screeching dismay and outrage against the fact that magnificent and efficient beings like sharks have an irreplaceable value. Just two days past, I heard the startling scream of a raptor bird as I wandered in rather wild hills. The hawk glided past. How many of us would arm the rodents against the hawk? The pikas, the rabbits, the squirrels have their play, as do all things, including ourselves. Guns and bombs and nukes and revenge –… Read more »

Karen Crawford
Karen Crawford

Here’s an idea ; don’t surf in the ocean area where there are known to be sharks. The ocean is the shark’s home and NO sharks should be culled on the NSW North Coast of Australia. Sharks were there first and have been around for millions of years.

Charlotte Patterson
Charlotte Patterson

There is a problem with this site on my end… it will not load so I can vote… I hope you can fix this problem so I can vote… Thank You Kindly… And NO… Sharks should not be culled!

Ken Billington

Try clearing the cache in your browser.

Darren Jessup
Darren Jessup

I’m sorry but I have no sympathy for anyone that goes into water with sharks in it because that is their home and anybody that goes into the water does it at their own risk because they know the sharks are there and you can’t blame the sharks if they mistake somebody for one of their usual prey, unfortunately I don’t think they would be very successful trying to go to a supermarket or local butchers for their food. Just as always man thinks it can just take control of everything ! it won’t be long before we have no… Read more »

Linda French

Why cull the sharks, you are going into their domain. Put signs up beware of sharks surf at own risk if you still want to surf there, well than you are responsible for your own actions. To cull sharks because of surfers…get real!

neil edwards
neil edwards

The surfers know there are sharks there so why can’t they surf somewhere else and leave the sharks there. Sharks were there first.

Robert Piller
Robert Piller
Sue Lesmond
Sue Lesmond

I am along term local of the mid north coast of nsw as well as an avid scuba diver,water skier and I often swim at the beach.When we enter the ocean and the river,this is the territory of the sharks and whales etc.Stay out of the water if you are concerned about sharks!We have no right to kill the sharks and the government had better not!!

Robert Wilkinson

YA thats the Ticket Just KILL Everything

Doug Mauro

I feel so bad for the boy, but you cannot blame the sharks! If people don’t want to risk an attack, they shouldn’t go into the ocean. It’s simple.