Opinion: Shark net trial bound to have pros and cons

THE NSW Government has responded to the continuing shark problem on the Northern Rivers by naming the five beaches that will get traditional shark nets for the summer school holidays.

The beaches to get them are Lighthouse Beach, Sharpes Beach and Shelly Beach at Ballina, Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head, and Evans Head Beach.

The roll out has been promised for the upcoming school holidays and the nets will be trialled for six months.

Conspicuous by its absence from the shark net trial is Byron Bay.

The region's most popular tourist destination, with 1.5 million visitors a year, has not opted for nets.

At a recent meeting the council voted 7-2 against the state government deploying nets.

Byron will instead push for the use of other non-lethal methods of shark mitigation including shark spotting, the use of gyrocopter patrols and drone trials.

It's widely acknowledged that traditional shark nets cannot guarantee the safety of swimmers and surfers.

But sharks somehow learn not to butt their heads against the nets and move on.

These nets will have to be monitored very closely as any bi-catch such as whales, turtles or dolphins is going to undermine the trial.

All of these measures are bound to have pros and cons but the sheer number of attacks has forced this result.


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