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Lighthouse Beach attack fires up anti-shark debate

Great white shark © Terry Goss/WikiCommons



Shark Updates

New South Wales to deploy 85 new "smart" drumlines

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 2 October, 2016 - After last week’s shark attack by a suspected great white at Lighthouse Beach in Ballina, New South Wales Australia, NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair announced the government will install dozens of “smart” drumlines in the area.

Last week 17-year-old Cooper Allen was surfing with friends when the shark, estimated to be about 12 feet in length, bit down on his hip. He was treated at the scene and then rushed off to Lismore Base Hospital. The smart drumlines were in place at Lighthouse Beach when he was attacked.

There are already 15 smart drumlines off NSW and another 85 will be rolled out as a direct response to last week’s attack, Mr Blair said.

Smart drumlines are baited hooks attached to buoys that send alerts when a shark is hooked. The shark is then tagged. Tagged sharks can be tracked by authorities so they can alert swimmers when the shark swims into beachgoer or surfing areas.

But Ballina mayor David Wright said more is needed to make them work efficiently in the battle with sharks.

“Six sharks have been caught in the past six days," he told The Australian. "A two-metre shark was tagged today. (Drumlines) are a good short-term measure along with the aerial surveillance."

Those opposed to the drumlines say they are ineffective as they only alert authorities to tagged sharks, and it's quite possible for a rogue untagged shark to slip through unnoticed, as happened with Allen. Mr Blair added that the government is "looking at all options."

Lennox-Ballina Boardriders Club president Don Munro said the drumlines were ineffective when compared to the usually-fatal-for-the-shark netting method.

They're “playing Russian roulette with our lives,” Munro told the Daily Telegraph.

In a story this weekend the Sydney Morning Herald said Prime Minister Tony Abbott is in favour of a shark cull if it comes down to it.

"If it's a choice between people and animals, I'm on the side of the people every time,” he told the SMH

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