Australia mulls shark nets after series of attacks

Sydney, Oct 24 (IANS) The Australian government plans to introduce a new bill in November to legalise a six-month trial of shark nets on the North Coast, following a series of shark attacks here in recent months.

These nets would be deployed on the North Coast beaches before the Christmas holidays after Parliament passes the legislation, Xinhua news reported.

New South Wales Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said the state would introduce a dedicated legislation to regulate the mesh nets on a trial basis.

“No one measure can stop shark attacks, but this trial of traditional nets will complement our existing $12.17 million Shark Management Strategy, and help reduce the risk of further attacks,” Blair said in a statement.

“Fisheries experts from Department of Primary Industries are investigating how mesh nets might be improved to avoid unnecessary hazard to marine life,” Blair said

However, protecting human life is the first priority, he said.

The announcement came right after a 36-year-old surfer suffered wounds on his thigh during a shark attack at Broken Head near Byron Bay on Monday morning.

A statement issued by Surf Life Saving NSW said that all beaches across Byron Bay including the patrolled main beach would remain closed for at least the next 24 hours following the attack.

There were 13 shark attacks reported at NSW beaches since February.