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One-armed surfer Bethany Hamilton speaks out on shark nets

Pro surfer Bethany Hamilton successfully recovered her promising career after losing her arm in a shark attack as a teenager.
Pro surfer Bethany Hamilton successfully recovered her promising career after losing her arm in a shark attack as a teenager.

SHARK attack amputee and professional surfer Bethany Hamilton has spoken out on the contentious issue of shark nets along the north coast.

Speaking to ABC on Tuesday, the high profile US surfer who lost an arm when she was bitten by a 14-foot tiger shark in Hawaii at age 13 in 2003, said more was needed in response to recent NSW attacks.

"We don't want to see anyone get hurt but we also can't just kill sharks and hope that nets are going to solve the problem because ultimately you know there's bigger issues at hand," Ms Hamilton said.

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"There needs to be more than just shark nets to adjust the situation.

"Sharks are getting more and more aggressive for a reason, because they're hungry and because the fishing industry is not being sustainable so that's just kind of where I bring it to.

"(Shark nets) could be part of the solution and I think it will be interesting to see if it does help."

Ms Hamilton, 26, was a promising amateur when she was attacked, but was back in the water only months after the incident in which she almost lost her life.

Today she competes on the World Surf League circuit.

Bethany Hamilton competing in the Fiji Women's Pro.
Bethany Hamilton competing in the Fiji Women's Pro. Ed Sloane

Earlier this year she eliminated top seed of the Fiji Women's Pro to claim third place. She is currently visiting Australia to promote her upcoming inspirational film Surf's Like a Girl, screening in 2017.

Ms Hamilton's comments as the NSW State Government this week announced fast-tracking shark net legislation to allow nets off Ballina's four most popular beaches and Evans Head before the school holidays.

Byron Shire beaches were not included in the roll-out, despite a fatal attack off Clarkes Beach in 2014.

Topics:  ballina editors picks shark attack shark nets



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