Shark cull dismissed by expert as attacks increase

SUGGESTIONS of a shark cull in waters off the Mid North and North Coasts have been dismissed by experts as "pointless" and "scientifically baseless".

A surge in shark sightings and several attacks since February have sparked calls for a partial cull on sharks, with a number of North Coast surfers this week backing the proposal.

Southern Cross University shark expert Daniel Bucher rejected the idea, saying it wouldn't create a long-term solution.

"What we've got is a temporary aggregation on the North Coast and culling in localised areas would not have a large benefit or even short-term effect."

Mr Bucher said the rise in shark activity was not due to an increase in numbers but impacted by ocean conditions that were pushing nutrient-rich water closer to shore.

"Nutrients in water from welling events are pumping plankton into shallower water and that's attracting sharks and other marine species," he said.

"The water temperature is still quite high at 21 degrees around Coffs Harbour and warm water full of nutrients is a recipe for high productivity.

"It's temporarily provided a lot of food but sharks will move on once that food runs out."

The State Government has meanwhile ruled out the calls for a partial cull, with Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair saying other options including sonar or magnetic deterrents, barriers and other measures should be investigated.

The call for a partial cull came as a photo of a 4m tiger shark caught off Tweed Heads made news across Australia this week.

Mr Bucher said it was common for sharks of that size to be spotted on the Coffs Coast and further north.

"Adult great whites can grow up to 8m and sharks of that size are not uncommon in this area," he said.

Mr Bucher said the conversation should be aimed towards the protection of sharks, rather than extreme mitigation strategies.

"Angling, trophy fishing and finning are causing pressures on the shark population," he said.

"Further culling is not the answer, patience is."



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