A group of surfers on the NSW north coast have voted for a partial shark cull, following an increasing number of unprecedented attacks.
A community meeting held on Monday night notified local residents that many businesses, who rely heavily on tourism, were about to close due to the decreasing number of people visiting the area, claiming shark attacks were a primary reason for the downturn in trade.
According to Le-Ba Boardriders Club president Don Munro, 95 per cent of people at the meeting supported community action on the culling of sharks, which could involve killing sharks that have caused repetitive problems in the area.
“Surfers are more environmentally aware than most. We live in the water, we have an appreciation that we’re in their domain, but … now it’s just gone crazy and no-one really knows why,” Mr Munro told Surfing Life.
“What price do we put on a life?”
Despite the overwhelming support for shark culling on the NSW North Coast, some businesses are adamant that it is not the answer.
Lennox Head Pizza and Pasta owner Nathan Meredith told The Newsroom his business was one that did not agree with the proposed cull.
“Overall I don’t necessarily agree with the shark cull,” Mr Meredith said.
“There are other measures that can be taken like shark tagging and sonar that could contribute to everyone’s safety.”
Mr Meredith also said his business had not been directly affected as tourists normally flocked to the coastline later in the year, but he appreciated that people’s livelihoods were at stake.
“I have friends who are surfboard shapers and own surf schools, and they have definitely received a lack of interest as of late,” he said.
“But this could change if less severe measures are taken.”
Ballina Council is estimated to be currently spending $16,000 on shark patrols every weekend, which have helped to identify up to seven sharks that the council believes are the core of the issue.
Some experts have claimed that an increasing number of sharks near the coastline may be due to natural causes such as a high number of baitfish in the area, or the dredging of nearby rivers.
The NSW state government is looking at proposals to decrease the number of shark attacks, including new detection and deterrence technologies. – Ben Potter