NSW net plan slows
The response to community fears over shark attacks in NSW has been delayed.
A shark barrier trial planned for Ballina's Lighthouse Beach is now unlikely to be installed before the end of March.
A barrier planned for Lennox Head will now be installed closer to June.
The inventor of the eco-barrier technology is working on a new design to suit the heavy surf zone, and has scrapped plans to anchor the net to a series of poles.
“Because it's not having the poles, they won't have the ability to drop it, but it's very flexible,” local mayor David Wright has told reporters.
“So if something hits it, it should just roll over the top.
“Because it's on an angle to the bottom, it'll be more flexible so the jet boats and rubber duckies and things can go over the top.
“If something like a tree branch comes in, or a tree, he thinks it will roll over the top.”
He said the community would be keen to get the trial underway.
“It'll be the only protected beach between Gold Coast and Newcastle,” Cr Wright said.
“As soon as we've got the beach being used properly, it'll really bring more people.”
The New South Wales Government says it will keep running aerial surveillance of beaches in the meantime.
Shark patrols had been set to finish on Australia Day, but will now continue until Easter.
Spotters will keep their eyes on areas from Byron Bay to Evans Head, Red Rock to South Sawtell, Nambucca to Hat Head, and Crescent Head to Laurieton.
“Clearly the eco nets aren't in place, and until that happens, we need to continue to ensure that swimmers are safe,” Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast, Chris Gulaptis, said.
“It's just really business as usual, but of course people are wary.
“The Government is trying to allay fears and we're doing everything we can to get swimmers in the water and make sure they are safe.”