Lighthouse Beach at Ballina closed after a shark attack. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
Lighthouse Beach at Ballina closed after a shark attack. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

Scary warning from veteran local shark hunter

A FORMER shark fisherman has issued a scary warning for summer, predicting another serious shark incident is imminent.

Coraki area local David Woods fished for sharks professionally for 15 years until about 2009, when shark fishing restrictions made the business unviable.

"I was drum lining, I used to work 30, I had them about 4.5 miles off the shore from the front of the Ballina bar to Lennox Head,” Mr Woods said.

“I’d go out to 50 fathoms and had them just off Lennox Head and to the stretch five miles south of Ballina.”

Mr Woods said the tagging project undertaken by the Department of Primary Industries was great for science, but “no way in the world” would it prevent shark attacks.

The 4G listening stations recently deployed off Sharpes Beach, Ballina, and Main Beach at Byron Bay will detect any of 200 or so tagged sharks in NSW waters.

But Mr Woods that number was “the tip of the iceberg” of the number of potentially dangerous sharks in local waters.

"Maybe 1% are tagged and the rest we have no idea where they are,” he said.

“And it’s going to get worse, because in January the mackerel season starts,” he said.

"They’re not going to decrease they’re going to bloody increase."

He said drum lines from Evans Head to Byron Bay would solve the problem.

"After a few months, all the larger ones would be taken out of the equation."

"Queensland has 100 beaches from the border to Cape York with shark nets, and there’s 500 drum lines."

Mr Woods said the white shark was protected on false assumptions that they were slow breeders, only having two young every 18 months.

Now, he said US research had proven that great whites have in excess of 20 pups every 18 months.

Scientific claims there only 1000 off the East Coast were “rubbish”, he said.

He was similarly dismissive of the planned eco shark barriers for Lennox Head and Lighthouse Beach, because “the first cyclone (swell) we have (they are) going to end up on the beach.”



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