Australians 'ready to kill' school of great white sharks off beaches in New South Wales

Residents in New South Wales believe action must be taken following a series of shark attacks

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Australians are threatening to take the law into their own hands and start killing several great white sharks terrorising the beaches of a local resort.

Several of the animals have started appearing on the New South Wales coast, where residents are demanding government action after a series of serious attacks which have apparently deterred tourists and people living in the area from going into the waters.

At least 12 shark attacks have been reported this year, with five to seven great white sharks reportedly identified as swimming in the area’s waters regularly. 

Now residents of Byron, Ballina, Evans Head shires have warned drastic action may be necessary to prevent the area’s beaches becoming deserted.

After a residents' meeting earlier this week, Don Munro, a community representative, said 95 per cent of them voted in favour of killing the sharks under a controlled management plan, reports the Daily Mail.

He told the newspaper: “We’ve had 12 attacks, one fatal and two near fatal.

“The majority call – it’s not my call I speak for the group – is that we cull or manage a couple of those sharks or all seven of them.”

The calls for action come after photos appearing to be of a huge tiger shark’s dead body surfaced on Facebook, showing the animal on board a fishing boat in Nine Mile Reef in northern New South Wales.

Many local residents reportedly do not want to kill the sharks but have been left feeling desperate and frightened because no other urgent action is being taken.

It is understood that many residents would be in favour of sonar detection devices being installed at the area’s beaches to reassure residents and tourists – a process which could take many months. 

“We’re a tourist destination and it’s imperative we have tourists, our livelihood depends on them,” Mr Munro told the Daily Mail. “We’re surfers, we love the ocean, we respect it’s their [the sharks’] domain but in this case when they’re killing and attacking us we feel that until we get those permanent devices in place we need this small management plan.”

He added: “A cull is not a positive, it's come about through sheer frustration and sheer fear.”

David Wright, Ballina Shire Mayor, told the newspaper he did not support a cull of the sharks but said a short-term solution had to be found.

In February, surfer Tadashi Nakahara was killed by a shark at a beach near Ballina.

Matthew Lee, a bodyboarder, is still in hospital after he was attacked by a great white shark there in July.

In the same month, surfer Craig Ison was injured when he was attacked by a shark at Evans Head.