Safety review follows attack
By ED SOUTHORN and AAP
THE Queensland Government will review its shark safety program, including shark nets on Gold Coast beaches, in response to the fatal shark attack off North Stradbroke Island.
But top Tweed surf life saver Andrew Meredith, the Cudgen Headland Surf Life Saving Club captain, says there is no big shark danger for Tweed swimmers. His opinion is that shark nets are not needed along the Tweed Coast.
Sarah Whiley, from Brisbane, died from shock and blood loss nine go after being mauled by up to three bull sharks at Amity Point on North Stradbroke Island. The 21-year-old student was swimming in waist-deep water with three friends at the time.
A Queensland Government report into the attack, released yesterday, makes four recommendations to improve swimmer safety, including increasing the servicing of drumlines with baited hooks to lure sharks off Amity Point.
The report also recommends more drumlines at Amity Point and an education program warning tourists and locals of the swimming risks.
Queensland Acting Premier Anna Bligh said investigations found it was almost impossible to install a shark safety net off Amity Point because of strong currents, a large amount of vessel traffic and a sharp drop-off.
Drumlines were the best option for protecting swimmers at the beach, she said.
"All of the drumlines currently located there will be subject to in- creased servicing by contractors over the school holiday period," she said.
Ms Bligh said the Government also was considering a shark-proof swimming enclosure at Amity Point.
Although many NSW swimming beaches are netted for shark protection, Mr Meredith said the Fingal marine park and other local reefs offshore kept most sharks away from Tweed Coast beaches, although the shark attack risk may increase locally when bait fish schools are active.
The NSW Government has defended its shark protection program after Bondi, Bronte, Coogee and Maroubra beaches had their shark nets temporarily removed and relocated to the Royal National Park last Tuesday, the same day sharks were spotted between Bondi and Bronte and in several other places along the NSW coast.