Call for extra shark nets: 'We need to protect our children'
BALLINA Shire councillor Phil Meehan would like two more shark nets deployed in his local government area.
At tomorrow's Ballina Shire Council meeting he will ask his colleagues to support a call for the council to ask the State Government to deploy a second mesh net at Lennox Head and request an investigation into the deployment of an eco-barrier net in the Richmond River at the beach area east of Missingham Bridge.
In his motion to the council, he wrote: "The installation of shark nets off the beaches of Ballina Shire has been received positively by the majority of our community and visitors to the shire.
"Their presence has helped prevent further shark attacks and has given the community greater confidence in using our beaches for surfing and swimming."
Cr Meehan wants the second mesh net deployed in the ocean to the east of The Lennox Hotel - and area he said was popular with children, teenagers and surfing clubs.
"This surfing zone should have the highest level of shark attack prevention applied," he wrote in his motion.
"We must demand all actions be taken to prevent any harm coming to our children and young people from shark attack."
For the Richmond River, he wants the government to investigate the feasibility of installing an eco-barrier near Missingham Bridge.
He said bull sharks were often reported near the bridge.
"They (bull sharks) have been responsible for attacks and at least one fatality," he said.
The river beach, about 300m in length, is located near the Shaws Bay Caravan Park and is popular with families and older people.
Unlike the locations for the eco-barrier trials at surf beaches, Cr Meehan said the river site was "relatively free from wave action".
"It is an ideal physical environment for the installation and success of a shark eco-barrier," he said.
The motion comes after the NSW Department of Primary Industries released by-catch details for the first month of the shark net trail.
There were 43 marine animals caught in the five nets in the month from December 8, and 72% were released successfully.
Among the dead animals found were a dolphin at Seven Mile Beach and a bull shark at Lighthouse Beach.
The four sharks from targeted species caught in the nets in the first month were a white shark (Sharpes Beach), two tiger sharks (Sharpes Beach) and the bull shark. The three live sharks were tagged and relocated.