Concern over "vigilante" fishermen going after great whites

BALLINA mayor David Wright says he is worried some locals will act vigilante-style to seek and destroy the seven great white sharks known to be lurking off the Ballina coastline.

Cr Wright says his concern arose after Monday's night's shark crisis meeting in Lennox Head, which was attended by 200 people, the majority of whom voted for a targeted shark cull.

He said emotions were high and people were desperate for solutions.

"Someone might take it into their own hands, and that would be horrible for everyone," he said.

"People are dead scared and businesses are scared.

"Two of the sharks are bigger than the one on the front page (of today's The Northern Star)."

The fear spreading amongst the community prompted Cr Wright and Ballina Shire Council to urgently request the Department of Primary Industries to take a closer role in investigating the apparent spike in near-shore great white shark numbers.

Cr Wright said he had spoken to Clarence MP and North Coast parliamentary secretary Chris Gulaptis about the issue as well as the head of the DPI.

"I want (DPI) people to come up and be on the ground and give us some confidence," he said.

"The feeling of this community here is we've been left to deal with this problem ourselves."

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The most famous fictional vigilante fisherman was the character Quint, from Peter Benchley's bestseller Jaws.

Quint was famously played by Robert Shaw in the Steven Spielberg Hollywood blockbuster adaptation of the novel, a tough-talking, gritty bloke.

However, Quint ultimately met his fate in the jaws of the huge shark when it attacked his boat.