Shark cull supported at community strategy meeting

A LIMITED cull of sharks along the North Coast was overwhelmingly supported at a community shark management strategy meeting in Lennox Head last night.

The public meeting was organised by Le-Ba Boardriders Club and attended by about 200 people, mainly surfers, as well as Richmond police and Ballina mayor David Wright.

The meeting comes after two serious shark attacks in the last month and five incidents in the last two weeks where large great whites were spotted within 50m of surfers.

Le-Ba Boardriders Club president Don Munro said there was a strong consensus from those attending the meeting for "controlled management or culling".

What do you think our “shark strategy” should be?

This poll ended on 17 August 2015.

Current Results

There are too many of them at the moment, they need to be culled

25%

Sharks deserve their place in the ocean and should be protected

56%

I’m more in favour of current methods like aerial patrols and early warnings

18%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

He said seven individual sharks had been identified down to their length and individual markings since regular aerial patrols began by Air T&G Helicopter Services.

"For sure the mood in the room was definitely more for than against (culling)," Mr Munro said.

"The situation we've got is a diabolical one, we're in a (shark) hotspot right now.

"The sharks are there, they've identified them.

"We're talking about people's lives and livelihoods, socially and economically if we don't get on top of this.

"We've got to be seen to be doing things.

Other strategies mooted at the meeting were tying shark carcasses out the back of popular surf spots to deter sharks - great whites are known to dislike the carcasses of their own.

Another idea was to lobby the government to use some of the shark repellent and detection technologies currently in research and development phase and trial them on the North Coast.

"We would think it's a no-brainer to take some of these devices and trial them here," Mr Munro said.

Efforts to lobby the state government are also expected to become more sophisticated over the next few weeks as the shark problem attracts wider support from communities across the region.

But mayor Wright said he did not support a cull, at least until more was understood about the local shark population.

"If we kill the ones that are there, there might be another six or seven next week… until we find out why they are there and why their numbers are increasing," Cr Wright explained.

Ballina Shire Council has instead written to the Department of Primary industries to request they investigate the issue.

"Overall people are very concerned… hopefully the DPI will come up and provide some of those answers," Cr Wright said.

"They're the experts."

"It's impacting on our Shire… we need help."

"We don't want people not coming here for Christmas because of the sharks."