Shark victim not keen on safety nets

A man was mauled by a great white at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach in late September. Photo / Ballina Tourism
A man was mauled by a great white at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach in late September. Photo / Ballina Tourism

The surfer attacked by a shark on the New South Wales north coast this week is worried the use of nets around beaches could hurt marine life.

Seneca Rus, 25, was bitten by a suspected white pointer yesterday at Sharpes Beach in Ballina when he was surfing with his mates.

The attack prompted Premier Mike Baird to backflip on his previous opposition to nets and ask the federal Government for a six-month trial.

"Obviously, it will keep a lot of people safe," Rus told Network Nine today.

"The nets, I think, are not the best for marine life. You hear about a lot of turtles and dolphins getting caught in them.

"I'm not too sure which way to go with that one."

Ballina Major David Wright, who's opposed to nets, says the region couldn't risk damaging its marine tourism economy.

"We don't know enough about them [the nets]. I don't think anybody knows what they are," he said.

All Ballina beaches were closed after Rus, who had to get stiches in his right leg, was attacked and are expected to re-open today.

It was the second attack in less than two weeks in the area and came after Cooper Allan, 17, sustained deep leg wounds after being mauled by a great white at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach in late September.

It was also the sixth shark attacks in the area since January last year, including one that killed Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara.

"This shark problem that we've had for the last 18 months is something that hasn't happened before," Wright said. "Everything's coming closer. Whales come closer. Dolphins come close and bait fish come closer."

A shark net is a barrier placed in waters off beaches and are used by authorities to reduce shark attacks on swimmers and surfers. A major criticism of the technology is that it can also trap other marine life, such as turtles and dolphins.


- AAP

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