Surfers still ‘s*** scared’ of Ballina
A GOLD Coast surfing stalwart has hit out at a Senate inquiry which recommended shark nets be phased out in NSW and Queensland.
The inquiry claimed there was an "infinitesimal" chance of being mauled.
But Burleigh Boardrider Terry "Tappa" Teece told the Gold Coast Bulletin: "Tell that to the people of Ballina."
The region is still recovering after a spate of nine attacks in 18 months since the beginning in 2015 and almost daily sightings of monster sharks in the surf zone.
Mr Teece said he was "s*** scared" of surfing at Ballina along with many other Queensland and NSW surfers who have stopped driving to the wave-rich area on weekends.
Mr Teece said he felt the senate committee had been in favour of removing shark nets from the beginning.
"It's very tilted (toward protecting sharks) on that committee, it was almost like they had made up their mind from the start," Mr Teece said.
The report suggests removing shark nets - which have been a success on the Gold Coast since 1962 - and replacing them with SMART drum lines, which are designed not to be lethal to sharks.
In response Queensland fisheries minister Mark Furner said the Palaszczuk government remained steadfast in its support of the shark control program of nets and baited hooks off beaches.
Mr Furner said in a statement nets had "undoubtedly saved lives" with only one death off a Queensland netted beach in the past 55 years.
A spokeswoman for NSW fisheries minister Niall Blair said SMART drum lines complimented the state's netting program which has run through warmer months each year since the 1930s.
Mr Teece said shark nets should remain in place in Queensland.
"There's been no trouble in Queensland, when you look here (on the Gold Coast) what's the thing that stands out? It's the shark nets," Mr Teece said.