Parents of teen killed by shark call for action
THE parents of a 16-year-old who was killed by a shark off Ballina's Lighthouse Beach in 2008 have called on NSW Premier Mike Baird to do more to stop more tragic attacks occurring.
Neil and Lisa Edmonds spoke to The Australian at the beach where their son Peter died after a bull shark attack in 2008.
After eight years of silence, the couple have spoken out, saying they said they didn't want other parents to experience their nightmare.
"I know there is quite a lot of emotion in all of this but how many attacks does it take before something concrete is done," Mrs Edmonds said.
The Edmonds, from Wollongbar, yesterday urged local, state and federal authorities to take effective action.
"How many more people have to be attacked before they finally take a hard look at what they are doing and take the environmentalists out of it?" Mrs Edmonds said.
"They have tried all these different things and they have failed.
"I don't know how having drones in the air is going to help.
"They need something that is going to stop the sharks coming in altogether."
Mrs Edmonds pointed to "the example of the Gold Coast and Western Australia" where nets and drum lines were utilised to surfers.
Mrs Edmonds told The Australian she had signed a petition addressed to Ballina mayor David Wright and Mr Baird to better protect surfers, stating that she could no longer stay silent.
"You never get over it," she said.
"You just learn to live with it.
"We don't want other people to go through that.
"It's bad enough when they are attacked and they live and live with the scars.
"We just thank God they haven't died.''
"It's a parent's worst nightmare.
"Each time there is an attack my husband and I say to each other 'is this going to be the one where they are going to say let's do it properly this time'.
"How many more? We've been quiet for all these years, just listening to it all going on.
"But I think enough is enough."
Mr Edmonds, who told The Australian he opposed culling sharks, said the NSW government was focused on quick fixes to protect swimmers and not strategies to protect surfers.
"I know a few who have stopped surfing," Mr Edmonds said.
"I haven't been out for a while, mostly because of work, but I'm still going to have that fear.
"It's our environment too."
The Edmonds have not attended the community meetings organised by the DPI because they believe the department isn't listening to community concerns.
"I know the surfing community has attended the meetings ... and they haven't listened to the -experience of the surfers," Mrs Edmonds said.
"They haven't listened to the things that the surfers are recommending.
"The people that are actually using that environment are not being listened to.
"In exactly the same spot that our Peter was taken there have been attacks, at Lighthouse Beach ... How much more suffering, how much more heartache, how much more fear has to be generated -before they'll actually listen."
Mrs Edmonds said she understood some people considered drum lines cruel, but they had been shown to work in other places.
"Are our politicians so arrogant or so blinded by their own importance that they can't even take a leaf out of somebody else's book?
"Why try and reinvent the wheel?
"Whatever they are doing up there (the Gold Coast) is working."
Mrs Edmonds said the Baird government was spending up to $16 million on a shark strategy, including drones and helicopter surveillance, that was more focused on protecting sharks than surfers.
"I don't know what the answer is but they are spending millions on things that aren't working."