SYDNEY (AP) — An Australian state government on Wednesday proposed installing protective nets off a coastal town after a second suspected shark attack in two weeks.
A 25-year-old man was surfing with friends on Wednesday off Ballina, 600 kilometers (350 miles) north of Sydney, when something bumped his board and tipped him into the water, a New South Wales state police statement said.
Police said he was bitten by something which inflicted a small wound to his lower right leg. He was treated in hospital and beaches around Ballina were closed for 24 hours as a precaution against shark attack.
On Sept. 26, a 17-year-old surfer required stiches to close a leg wound after he was bitten by a shark off a Ballina beach. A 41-year-old Japanese surfer was killed by a shark off Ballina last year.
State Premier Mike Baird told the State Parliament in Sydney that he would ask the federal government for environmental permission to install shark nets along New South Wales' northern beaches for a six-month trial.
The nets, which are suspended from floats and run parallel to the coast, are not complete barriers to sharks and kill a wide rarity of marine life. Environmentalists oppose them.
The state government had previously resisted calls for netting, which have existed for decades along several Australian beaches popular with tourists.
"Ultimately, we get to the point where we have to prioritize human life over everything," Baird told Parliament.
"In relation to the far north coast, there are extraordinary circumstances that have happened there. We have to respond, we will be responding," he said.