Ballina was once touted as the
Ballina was once touted as the "shark capital of Australia” but thankfully there hasn't been a shark attack recently. Contributed

Have you changed your beach habits due to sharks?

FOR a while, Ballina was being touted as the "shark capital of Australia" -- but thankfully, there haven't been any recent incidents to further that tag, nor in the region.

But why is that so? Is it because swimmers, surfers, spearfishers or beach-users generally have changed their behaviours to reduce the risk of a shark encounter?

That's what University of Technology Sydney researchers aim to find out when they visit Ballina for a workshop on October 15, with a second workshop in Byron Bay on October 16.

Lead researcher Nick McClean described the aims of the research.

"There has been a lot of research on community attitudes towards sharks, and different shark mitigation measures in NSW in the last few years," he said.

"This research project has a different focus.

"We want to understand whether people have been changing their behaviour to reduce their risk of shark interactions in the last few years, and why.

"For example, do people swim in different places or at different times then previously, or use technology to keep themselves safe?

"Have people changed their behaviour because of their peers, through learning from communication efforts by the government, or for other reasons?

"And if people haven't changed their behaviour, is it because they don't feel the risk applies to them, or for other reasons?

"These are the sort of questions we'll be exploring in the workshops."

The workshops will involve a graphic artist illustrating live the knowledge and views of participants.

These workshops are open to anyone who spends time at the beach or in the ocean. You do not need to have any special knowledge about sharks or beach safety to participate.

Workshops will be held at Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore Surf Club on Tuesday, October 15, at 6pm, and at the Byron Bay Surf Club on October 16 at 6pm.

To register your interest for the workshop, an event registration has been set up at the following web address: www.sharkworkshopsnsw.net.


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