Businesses closing, deserted beaches, no one surfing…
Whatever you think of the ethics of fishing for dangerous sharks, you can’t argue that shark attacks are good for business. Oowee, Ballina, just down the coast there from Byron Bay, is suddenly a ghost town.
In February, surfer Tadashi Nakahara was killed by a white. A month ago a bodyboarder was hit by a white and is still in hospital. Last week, a little further down the coast, a surfer fought off a white. This afternoon, a shark knocked a surfer off his board.
The Ballina council has been dropping 16k every weekend for a chopper to patrol the beaches. What doth it see? Seven great whites, some ten feet long, some closer to twenty, plying the near coastal waters.
Close Ballina’s fabulous beaches ’cause there’s sharks and what else have you got? You want tourists to come play in their cavernous mall? Stroll the aisles of a regional K-Mart?
“I’ve been in Ballina or Byron Bay all my life and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Ballina shire mayor David Wright said at a community meeting held on Monday night. “People who have surfed every morning for 40 years are not going in. People are pulling out of holidays from caravan parks and other accommodation. If you’ve seen the Mick Fanning footage, that’s happened 10 or 11 times in this area this year.”
According to the Sydney Morning Herald,
“Surfers on the NSW north coast have overwhelmingly voted for a partial cull of sharks following an unprecedented number of attacks and sightings along the world-famous coastline. The extraordinary development came during a heated community meeting on Monday night, in which residents were told some businesses were about to fold because visitors were too scared to come to the area for beach holidays. Le-Ba Boardriders Club president Don Munro, who organised the meeting for boardriders from Byron, Ballina and Evans Head shires, said about 95 per cent of the 200 people present voted in support of ‘controlled management or culling.
“It would involve killing sharks that have caused repeated problems, such as the seven regular great whites spotted in aerial patrols.
“Surfers are more environmentally aware than most, we live in the water, we have an appreciation that we’re in their domain but … now it’s just gone crazy and no one really knows why,” he said. “The thing is, what price do we put on a life?”