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Fanning calls for more shark research

WORLD surfing champion Mick Fanning says surfers around Ballina and Lennox Head are spooked by the number of shark sightings and attacks over the past year.

There have been 14 recorded shark attacks in NSW this year, five of which occurred in the Ballina area.

Fanning said for this reason he hasn't surfed at Ballina this year.

So much activity in Ballina

"I used to go down to Ballina all the time; I haven't been down this year, because of those reasons, because there's so much activity down there" he told Nova 969's Fitzy and Wippa today.

"I've got a lot of friends in Ballina and they are really affected by it all.

"Just when they thought it was starting to get a little bit safer then this happened.

"It's so sad for the area because it's such a beautiful place...its scary."

Fanning's encounter

In July, while surfing in a World Championship Tour (WCT) event at Jeffries Bay, South Africa, Fanning was attacked by a great white and punched the shark to get away.

He called on more research to be done into sharks and their behaviour.

"It's so unfortunate to hear about that (the attack on Sam Morgan)," he said.

"We've got to find out more about these things, we've got to make sure there is research done into why this is happening.

"We can't just go and cull them because you don't really find anything out, you are just delaying the problem for a later date.

More research needed

"It's just one of the things, we've got to find out why its (shark attacks) happening and how we can stop it happening more."

Since the incident at Jeffries Bay, Fanning said he had been careful about where he surfed.

"I have been very careful about going places that I know are sharky," he said.

"I don't really go near them."

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