Local surfers call for shark cull along North Coast
A LIMITED cull of sharks along the North Coast has been overwhelmingly supported at a shark crisis meeting in Lennox Head.
But the NSW Department of Primary Industries has rejected culling, instead continuing its "science-driven initiative" to better understand shark patterns in the region.
Monday night's 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.
It 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 at the meeting for "controlled management or culling".
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.
"We're talking about people's lives and livelihoods, socially and economically if we don't get on top of this."
In response, the DPI reiterated the NSW Government did not support culling, but said Ballina was being seriously considered as a trial location for new shark repellent and detection technologies after a review into such methods was completed next month.
Technologies being considered included electrical repellents, hard and soft (bubble) barriers, and magnetic and sonar technologies.
"The NSW Government has committed $100,000 to support investigations into new technology for shark detection and deterrence," a DPI spokeswoman said.
"This investigation will include how we can better protect areas of the north coast and one option may include advanced trials of new technology."
The DPI has also included its chief shark expert Dr Vic Pedemors in Ballina's Shark Mitigation Advisory Group and seconded DPI fisheries conservation researcher Dr Paul Butcher to develop a database of shark sightings in NSW.
Ballina mayor David Wright said he did not support a cull at least until more was understood about the local shark population but welcomed an "urgent" DPI investigation.
"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."