Premier: Shark nets are now an option for North Coast
PREMIER Mike Baird has said he would consider using ocean nets as a short-term solution to the North Coast's ongoing shark crisis.
"Shark nets should not be a long term solution but we have used them along many of our beaches between Newcastle and Wollongong for decades, and in that time we have had zero shark deaths in these areas," he said in a statement.
Mr Baird said the netting program that had been in place in Sydney and Wollongong may be extended to other NSW beaches, as well as trials of new shark-deterring technologies.
"I am supportive of looking at new technologies to keep our beaches safe," he said.
"We will carry out a trial of one of these new technologies along the state's beaches and are looking at all options, including the possibility of expanding the netting program."
Ballina mayor David Wright has said he hoped a shark summit in Sydney at the end of the month would shed light on the best technologies available to trial.
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A spokesperson for Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the summit, to be held on September 29, would "bring scientists from around the country and internationally together to talk about new and emerging shark deterrence technologies".
Mr Baird said the outcomes of the summit would help determine the government's next course of action.
"We have invited shark experts from around the world to attend a summit in Sydney next month to ensure our next step in dealing with this issue is made with the best scientific advice available," he said.
Earlier in August, Mr Baird ruled out a shark cull while cautioning the use of shark-nets.
"Here in NSW we have used shark nets along many of our beaches between Newcastle and The Gong for decades now," he said.
"And in that time we have had zero shark deaths in these areas.
"But while the safety record is great, nets don't just catch sharks, they catch other sea-life too.
"That reality is a serious concern to all of us.
"There is some doubt as to whether shark nets can be effective in other areas, like the North Coast.
"Nets aren't suitable for all beaches and, although we are going to look into expanding the nets, it may not be as easy as rolling more out.
"There are environmental concerns that need to be weighed up and all of this would need to be considered by the local communities involved."