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Shark net trial for NSW north coast

AAP logoAAP 18/11/2016

Surfers along NSW's north coast are set to be protected by controversial shark nets following three attacks in the past six weeks.

But locals argue the fast-tracked six-month trial, across five beaches, will endanger other marine life such as dolphins.

Protesters crashed Premier Mike Baird's press conference in Ballina on Friday, with one man dressed as a hammerhead shark trying to throw a net over him.

"Two years ago ... we would have been in the position that most of the community would have said no shark nets, as you can hear behind me," Mr Baird said.

But he insisted that the 'extraordinary" level of attacks had shifted community sentiment.

"Ultimately, we have done what we can in terms of protecting marine life but our number one priority is protection of human life," Mr Baird said.

Following commonwealth approval and fast-tracked state legislation, the six-month trial will get underway at Ballina's Lighthouse, Sharpes and Shelly beaches, as well as Lennox and Evans Head beaches, next week.

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