Shark nets down in time for Yana the turtle to go home
THE removal of the shark nets along the coastline of NSW North Coast called for a special kind of celebration at Lighthouse beach in Ballina.
A delighted crowd cheered as endangered green sea turtle Yana was released back in to the wild by Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR) on Wednesday morning.
Yana, a special case for ASR, was found in a cane drain on a private property at Newrybar Swamp in perfect health aside from an eye injury.
After approximately three months of rehabilitation, involving a lot of eye medication, squid and blue pillies, and love from volunteers, Yana got the all-clear from the vet to be released.
General Manager of Australian Seabird Rescue, Kathrina Southwell said she would sleep better at night knowing turtles won't become victims to the shark nets.
The nets prevented ASR from releasing turtles and the joy at their two-week early removal was obvious down on the beach with cheers all around.
"We are extremely pleased that the shark nets have been removed from along our coastline and we can now release turtles again in Ballina," Ms Southwell said.
Smart drumlines were a more favourable option, she also said, acknowledging the 10 extra drumlines installed along the coast.
"There's much less by-catch, if any, which is a much better for a beautiful area that's got such a biodiversity of species," she said.
"We love to be able to reward the local community that's been supporting ASR for the last 25 years by releasing them in our own backyard...it's just one of the ways we like to say thank you to you all."
ASR volunteer Kiaina Burke, released Yana and said the "special" experience was one to remember.