NSW to tackle Ballina shark problem

Following another attack on the northern New South Wales coast, the government has announced that they will be taking action.

17-year-old Cooper Allen was bitten on the leg while surfing at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach yesterday morning.

The teen was rushed to Lismore Base Hospital with four large gashes five centimetres apart on his upper thigh, which required stitches.


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Allen is expected to make a full recovery.

All beaches within the Ballina Shire were immediately closed to the public for 24 hours following the attack, and a 3.5m Great White shark was spotted nearby shortly afterwards.

The attack is the 11th at the Ballina Shire since January last year.

Last February, Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara was mauled to death at Shelly beach.

It is believed whale migration, schools of bait fish and the lack of nets is what has drawn the sharks closer to shore.

Plans to trial “eco” shark barriers off the Lighthouse Beach coast were abandoned just last months due to difficulties with the installation.

Ballina Mayor David Wright, says this latest incident has sparked a reaction from the government already.

“We’ve had the Premier, the Minister and the Deputy of DPI (Department of Primary Industries) ring this morning trying to fast track extra things they could do,” he said.

Work is expected to commence today to install smart drumlines from Ballina to Lennox Head – which will alert authorities when a shark is caught.

Lifeguard Scott McCartney told Channel Nine beaches won’t open until thorough surveillance of the area is completed.

“This morning we’re going to have IRBs, jetskis on the water doing a few surveillance’s up and down the coast, mainly Lighthouse, Shelly Beach.

“If we have no sightings of the sharks, the beach will reopen at 9am this morning.

“Last year we all hoped it was an anomaly and it wouldn’t happen again”, he said. 

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