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Sharks - page 2

Teen Boy Sustains Serious Injury After Shark Encounter At Lighthouse Beach Ballina

Cooper Allen with a different kind of non-threatening shark recently // Photo via Facebook

17-year-old Ballina surfer Cooper Allen has bravely made his own way to shore after being bitten by what some reports are calling a large great white shark this morning at Ballina’s North Wall surf spot – at Lighthouse Beach.

Witnesses say he was surfing with a group of about a dozen or so surfers at the time of he incident, which occurred just before 9am this morning.

Not long after, a NSW Department of Primary Industries aerial team spotted what they have reported as a 3.5m great white shark at the beach, and assisted a NSW life saving the team who reportedly “ushered” the shark back out to sea.

It is not know if this was the same shark that had bitten Cooper Allen however Norther Star online reports that, “Authorities have examined bite marks on Cooper’s leg and on his surfboard and are reasonably confident that he was attacked by a great white shark.”

Cooper is reported to be in a stable condition at Ballina hospital.

This shark was spotted at the surf break by helicopter shortly after the incident // Photo via NSW DPI


Cooper Allen // Photo via Facebook


Surf Lifesaving jetski teams usher the suspect shark back out to sea // Photo via NSW DPI

EARLIER: It has now been reported that the teenager has suffered severe lacerations to his right thigh and hip area in the encounter, which took place just before 9am this morning at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach.
The boy, believed to be 17 years of age, has been rushed to Ballina hospital for treatment.

According to an official police statement, “The youth made his way out of the water and was assisted by a nurse who was at the beach. He sustained a single bite wound to his hip and was taken to Lismore Base Hospital in a stable condition.”

The scene on the beach this morning at the Ballina North Wall // Photo Helen Cameron via Twitter @helenlovesfood


All beaches within the Ballina area will remain closed for the next 24 hours.

The species of shark and specific circumstances are not yet known.

Beaches in the area remain closed this morning // Photo Helen Cameron via Twitter @helenlovesfood

All beaches in the area have been closed for at least 24 hours and whilst the extent of the boy’s injury is unknown. It is since understood the Westpac helicopter has been called.

Gold Coast Spearfisherman’s Incredible Encounter with Great White Shark

A frame grab from Levingston’s view as he prepares to engage a great white shark head on // Photo Brett Levingston via Facebook
Gold Coast spearfishing and ocean going madman Brett Levingston has landed himself a fishing tale that’s off the scale, coming face to face with what he described as a 3.5 to 4 metre great white shark whilst spearing off the coast of Cape Moreton yesterday.

“Yesterday was without a doubt one of the most unforgettable and memorable experiences I have ever encountered. I came head to head with this graceful and beautiful 3.5 to 4 metre Great White Shark,” he said.

Brett Levingston is an experienced spear fisherman // Source: Facebook

Brett was hunting pelagics with buddies Kurt Zietlow, Jamie McCully and Antony Sercombe when the shark cruised in to check them out.


Despite the obvious visitor in the grey suit, Brett reckons it was still a, “great day out and still bagged plenty of fish!”

Antony’s video below

Diver’s Close Encounter With Great White Shark Off Byron Bay

Diver Steven Brock had one more friend drop by than expected over the weekend on his dive at Julian Rocks, in waters just off Byron Bay.

The diver filmed what appears to be a reasonably sizeable great white shark cruise by, in a place more renowned for placid Grey Nurse (Sand Tiger) sharks and its vast variety of rays and turtles.

Byron Bay, along with the northern New South Wales areas around Lennox Head and Ballina have been a hot bed of arguably increased shark activity and incidents over the last 18 months, with encounters ranging from simple nudges on boat propellors through to serious and even fatal incidents involving surfers and bodyboarders.

In November last year Sam Morgan was bitten, sustaining severe wounds whilst surfing at Ballina and in February 2015, surfer Tadashi Nakahara tragically lost his life to a white shark strike at Shelly Beach in Ballina.



Sam Morgan Remains In Coma As Shark Control Debate Rages

Whilst Ballina man Sam Morgan remains under an induced coma in the ICU at the Gold Coast Hospital this morning, community debate has turned again to the debate around shark control and the safety of beach and surf users across the northern NSW coast.

Sam was bitten by a suspected large bull shark late yesterday afternoon, whilst surfing at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach, along a stretch of coastline that has seen an unprecedented spate of shark attacks, incidents and encounters over the last 18 months.

Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara tragically lost his life to a great white shark in February whilst surfing at Shelly Beach, just up the road from Lighthouse Beach in Ballina / Source: Facebook

Earlier this year Mathew Lee nearly lost his life at the same beach when he was struck by a large great white shark whilst bodyboarding, and before that, in February, Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara was was killed when a large great white shark hit him with force just up the beach from the same spot. Witnesses described the attack as ferocious.

Sam Morgan’s family this morning indicated that they hoped he would be woken from his precautionary coma in the next couple of days. The promising young competitive surfer is already a veteran ocean user, and until yesterday, he lived his life around surfing and the ocean. Everybody is praying and hoping that his injuries won’t prevent him from continuing his surfing, and that he makes a full recovery.

Nets, drumlines, mesh, sonic beepers, helicopters and electronic deterrents have been thrust about this conversation like arrows coming from all directions – with even the scientific community unable to agree on what the best solution, or rather mitigation, should be. One this is certain though for northern NSW – conservationists and the majority of the community don’t not want to outright kill sharks or cover the beaches in nets and baited hooks, but in the same breath most are also demanding that something must be done and must be done now to change the situation.


Ballina local surfer Dave Drinkwater told the ABC this morning that the local council and community had been patient in waiting for the State Government to act on the shark issue.

Speaking from Lighthouse Beach, but not entering the water today he said, “The vibe in the water is not good as you can imagine when you’ve got your kids in the water but it’s part of our culture and that’s what we do, we surf, and we’re not about to stop but in this year, having three or four attacks, there needs to be something done.”

Sam Morgan is transported to hospital / Photo Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Facebook

But Lennox Head-Ballina surfing club criticised the State Government on what they say has been slow action on shark-deterrent technology, in the wake of the serious attack on the young surfer.

The NSW State Government has been figuring out where it will trial a range of shark detection and deterrent measures under a new $16 million, five-year shark control strategy.

Mentioned as part of the plan has been measures such as increased aerial surveillance including helicopters and drones, eco-barrier mesh and nets at some beaches, ‘smart’ drum lines, shark tagging and monitoring, and detection and deterrence devices such as sonar and sound buoys.

Just some of the recent shark attacks and encounters along this coastline

Don Munro, president of Le-Ba Boardriders (Lennox/Ballina), this morning said that real action on the issue is overdue and needs to happen now.

“I don’t know what it takes, it’s like a revolving door at the moment, it’s just going round and round … It’s taken the Minister and the Premier, I think, quite a long time to really move on it,” he told ABC news reporters.

“They’ve talked about a lot of things now that they want to implement, let’s see it happen now,” he said.

It is reported that two new technology barrier nets will be initially trialled at north coast beaches, with a view to additional four trials on other NSW beaches as well as up to 20 new 4G shark-listening stations, to provide real-time tracking data of tagged sharks.

It can be argued that shark nets and drumlines over the border on the Gold Coast have been successful in minimising risks to surfers and swimmers of attacks although definitive proof is not realistically available – a significant proportion of sharks are caught on the inside of the nets and more recently there has been much debate as to whether drumlines actually do more to attract larger predators that deter them, with the strong smelling baits deployed frequently near popular surf and swim locations. Also is is known that smaller marine animals that are struggling when caught in nets and on drumlines can actually bring bigger predators in.

Queensland, and particularly the Gold Coast, might have a good track record when it comes to shark encounters – or lack of them – but it also has an atrocious record when it comes to bycatch and endangering other species as well, with thousands of non-target animals killed over the years including whales, porpoise, dolphin, turtle, rays, large fish and more. Sadly the waters there are also noticeably devoid of the kind of healthy marine life you can find on the northern NSW coastline.

Mick Fanning was named Sportsman Of The Year at last night’s GQ Man Of The Year awards in Sydney, and his acceptance speech of course went into the shark problem facing the communities on this coastline.


“There’s so much activity on the Australian east coast. In the past couple of years, it’s happening more and more,” he said.

Fanning denounced the idea of culling as a solution saying, “you don’t get anything out of that.”

“We don’t know enough about sharks. Everyone just thinks it’s this crazy predator, but there are lions and stuff in the jungle, we know a lot about them. But sharks, we haven’t put enough research into them … and with so many more people going into the ocean around the world, there are going to be more (attacks) so if we can get some research, new techniques to deter them or get an understanding of it, that’s where I sit on it all.”

In the meantime, Sam Morgan and his family have become the latest in a string of shark encounter victims who are now left with what will probably be a long recovery, not just physically, but perhaps even more so emotionally.

The bull shark is known for its power and aggression, and along with the white shark is responsible for the most attacks in human history. The east coast of Australia has a strong bull shark population with the many rivers and estuaries providing ideal habitat for these super predators / Photo Terry Goss

Bull sharks are known to be prolific estuary users, so surfing next to a river mouth, late in the day after a few days of rain would arguably increase your chances of encountering one.


Fortunately for Sam, it appears his surfboard became the shield that may have protected his leg and potentially halved the impact and injuries he sustained – possibly saving his life.

The debate will rage on and on and on, but pressure is mounting for the government to act quickly and responsibly to focus investment and forward motion into the shark problem along this coast.

Let’s hope Sam’s recovery is strong and his love of the ocean and surfing continues – we hope he’s back in the water soon.

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