Photo: 7 News.
Photo: 7 News.

Fears another shark attack could rock region

TWEED has missed out on funding for shark mitigation gear on its largely unprotected beaches despite surfers being fatally mauled at Salt Beach and over the border at Greenmount.

Surf lifesavers and other community members fear a third death after shock great white attacks took the life of Miami's Nick Slater at Greenmount on September 8 and Tugun's Rob Pedretti near Kingscliff on June 7.

Miami surfer Nick Slater (left) was fatally mauled by a great white shark at Greenmount Beach on September 8 (the first attack on the Coast in more than 60 years), while Tugun surfer Rob Pedretti was killed by a great white at Salt Beach near Kingscliff on June 7.
Miami surfer Nick Slater (left) was fatally mauled by a great white shark at Greenmount Beach on September 8 (the first attack on the Coast in more than 60 years), while Tugun surfer Rob Pedretti was killed by a great white at Salt Beach near Kingscliff on June 7.

In early October, Tweed MP Geoff Provest flagged funding for SMART drumlines and more shark-spotting drones amid a wave of sightings and encounters across the Gold Coast and Tweed.

Mr Provest said he was "highly confident" the gear would be confirmed in the budget after NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall "put in a recommendation for extra drones and (new) SMART drumlines".

"Once these funds are approved I want to see them in straight away. SMART (Shark-Management-Alert-in-Real-Time) drumlines are a really great idea," Mr Provest said.

Surf lifesavers Tweed Deputy Mayor Reece Byrnes and councillor James Owen welcomed funding for measures to boost beachgoer safety on the shire's shores.

An aerial view of the shark involved in the fatal attack near Kingscliff. Picture: 7 News
An aerial view of the shark involved in the fatal attack near Kingscliff. Picture: 7 News

However, budget documents indicate only $315,000 has been allocated statewide for Enhancing Shark Mitigation and Ocean Beach Safety.

The documents do not list any specific funding for shark mitigation in Tweed.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest was contacted for more information via phone and text message.

But he did not respond to queries about the funding arrangements.

Cr Owen, who held a stakeholder meeting about sharks earlier this month, has been working with surf clubs and boardriders to increase shark surveillance at Tweed beaches.

He said beachgoers were not confident about entering the water.

Surf lifesaver and Tweed Shire councillor James Owen hosts a stakeholder meeting earlier this month. Pictured among the audience is fellow lifesaver Deputy Mayor Reece Byrnes.
Surf lifesaver and Tweed Shire councillor James Owen hosts a stakeholder meeting earlier this month. Pictured among the audience is fellow lifesaver Deputy Mayor Reece Byrnes.

"When we met last Monday, everyone was saying 'what about drumlines?'. Why haven't they done anything with drumlines yet in Tweed, because we've had the attack," he said,

"I was disappointed there's still no news on drumlines. Drone-wise we're going okay, it could be better, but we're going okay.

"Certainly with the drumlines, we'd like see some action on that, some commitment to a drumline program for Tweed as soon as possible."

Cr Owen believes drumlines would be effective at preventing an attack and questioned "why aren't they (installing) them up here?".

SMART Drumlines installed at Gracetown in Western Australia. Picture: Daniel Wilkins
SMART Drumlines installed at Gracetown in Western Australia. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

"It wouldn't take much to do, for crying out loud. They should have pulled their fingers out, " he said.

Sharks caught on baited SMART drumlines are tagged and trigger alerts if they swim close to beach detectors.

 

Originally published as Fears another shark attack could rock region


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