Editorial - November 28: Shark plan adds to water safety

HYSTERIA following a shark attack is one of the worst blows to the reputation of a coastal tourism industry.

Ahead of the holiday season, the North Coast may be disregarded as a holiday destination by Sydney and interstate travellers due to the irregular shark activity off its coastline, but let's hope the Coffs Coast isn't tarnished with the same brush.

Of concern, a survey of 89 North Coast accommodation providers in October found they had experienced median losses in overnight stays of $25,000.

As Minister Niall Blair announced the State Government had fast-tracked its $16 million shark strategy in Coffs Harbour, local beaches remained popular swimming and surfing spots. The money to be spent appears to be justified - funding drone and helicopter beach surveillance, more shark-tagging and 4G listening stations to assist lifeguards and life savers.

Let's hope that these measures make holidaymakers feel safe in the water, even though the odds of a shark attack are improbable if they enter the water in fair weather, outside of dusk and dawn, away from river mouths.

But what's a life worth. If these measures prevent the chance of one attack, then the package is a sound investment in safety.

- Matt Deans, Editor

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