WHAT LURKS BENEATH: Shark mitigation strategies shared at Senate inquiry hearings in Byron Bay.
WHAT LURKS BENEATH: Shark mitigation strategies shared at Senate inquiry hearings in Byron Bay.

We're 'apex predator': Shark inquiry

AS AN apex predator, "human life must prevail over all other marine life" Le-Ba boardriders club president Don Munro told a Senate shark mitigation hearing in Byron Bay yesterday.

"Scared to death", "more cautious" and "never surf alone" were all phrases Mr Munro used at yesterday's hearing.

"It's a scientific fact that if a shark is removed from an area then it won't be an issue," Mr Munro said.

He made his opinion clear that harvesting sharks to thin out numbers was a good option and justified marine life loss due to nets because "no marine species has been wiped out due to these solutions".

Described as an "emotive and complex national debate" Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson made note that they were "close" to finding the solution to making beaches safe from sharks.

But yesterday's hearing revealed an absence of new information on the topic, rehashing old knowledge of drum lines, nets and the obvious need for examination of new technologies.

The three committee members, included chair Peter Whish-Wilson and John Williams, of the Greens, and Labor's Anne Urquhart.

Many who appeared before the committee or made submissions to the inquiry, agreed that quelling the "fear and hysteria" surrounding shark encounters as a result of media coverage was a top priority.

At one point Mr Whish-Wilson queried out loud whether the issue should continue to involve politics.

"When there is an attack politicians are blamed but we can't make the beaches a completely safe place," he said.

The hearing also revealed a stark difference between Byron and Ballina councils' position on shark mitigation.

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said it would be "un-Byron to put up nets" but stated the "Byron community has moved on" and suggested using the money elsewhere.

Ballina Mayor David Wright said the existing apps, net and drumlines were a success and to move forward with the issue all research gathered needed to have one database.



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