UPDATE: The NSW Premier Mike Baird has caved in to pressure revealing that shark nets similar to those used in Queensland will be installed on key northern NSW beaches if he can secure federal approval.
Baird has told the NSW parliament he would write to the Federal Government to ask for permission to install nets where supposed eco-friendly alternatives had failed.
“Ultimately we get to the point where we have to prioritise human life over everything,” he said.
“The sentiment in that local community has shifted – it was against nets, no doubt about it.
“The recent attacks have started to shift that, and there is a move and a change within that community.
“We will be writing to the Federal Government asking for a six-month trial of nets on those North Coast beaches.”
The move is said to have support from Labor however the Greens are reported to be outraged by the move.
The debate over the effectiveness of shark nets is a divisive and hot tempered issue, with the indiscriminate way in which non-target species are often killed.
In the wake of this mornings shark incident at Sharpes Beach, police have photographed the surfboard and the man’s leg wound in the hopes of identifying the species and size of the shark responsible.
In a press conference held just now, New South Wales Police Inspector Doug Conners has said that the man is, “a very, very lucky boy.”
Inspector Conners also said that all beaches have been closed in the Ballina Shire until 1:30pm tomorrow afternoon, when a further assessment of the conditions will be made by authorities before reopening the beaches.
Local surfer Scott Crump, who witnessed the attack said the man was thrust into the air by the impact of the shark striking the board. Crump has since said, “guy was super lucky. So was I argh … scary times!”
EARLIER: There has been yet another serious shark incident this morning at Sharpes Beach, just north of Ballina, near Flat Rock and Skennars Head on the northern New South Wales Coast.
Seneca Rus, a 25-year-old Brunswick Heads man, was struck this morning by a large shark which bit down on his board, just missing the surfer but leaving him with a single deep puncture wound to his lower right leg.
The wound is said to be non-life-threatening in nature.
The incident reportedly took place in clear conditions and close to shore at around 10:30am local time.
Local surfer and board shaper Scott Crump posted to his Facebook earlier that, “A guy just got hit by a shark 50 meters from me at Sharpes Spot X … Do not surf there today. Check his board! he is OK … and VERY lucky!!!”
He added that it , “freaked me out..was such a perfect clear Aussie morning with fun little peaks and dolphins everywhere.”
Photos of the man’s board after the encounter with what has been described as a large shark at around 10:30am local time today // Photo via Facebook
The full circumstances and type or size of shark are unknown at this time.
The Gold Coast Bulletin reported that Mr Crump said, “the water was clear and there didn’t appear to be any baitfish in the water, only a pod of dolphins.”
The injured man’s friends assisted him and took him to the local Ballina hospital to seek treatment for the puncture wound on his leg.
Two and a half weeks ago local surfer Cooper Allen was bitten by a large great white shark whilst surfing at Lighthouse Beach, just a couple of kilometres to the south of today’s reported incident. Cooper is said to be doing well in his recover after suffering several deep puncture wounds to his upper thigh.
The region from Ballina north to Byron Bay has seen a prolific spike in shark encounters and incidents both fatal and non-fatal in recent years – the debate over what to do about it is still raging on.
We will post more information as it comes to light.