Sea lice in the spotlight

Sea lice in the spotlight

Savage sea lice attacks at the popular swimming spot of Shaws Bay, Ballina, have led to a proposed research project to try and determine why the biting is so bad.

East Ballina resident Greg Gurney said sea lice had been a hot topic of conversation amongst bathers over the summer because the problem had become so prolific and swimmers would often emerge from the water with red welts that itched for days.

Now Southern Cross University has put forward a research proposal which will cost $12,500 and Ballina Shire Council is considering approaching the Department of Lands to allocate the money from Reserve Trust funds.

If the money is not available Council will consider an allocation in next years budget.

The SCU study proposal states that the cause of swimmers itch in Shaws Bay was still unknown, but could be a result of sea lice, larval jellyfish or the larval stage of a trematode worm or a combination of all three. There has also been speculation that the increase in sea grasses within the bay is contributing to the problem. The study will try and determine why the problem is so bad and how it could possibly be managed in the future.

The proposal notes it will not be possible to totally eradicate pest species because Shaws Bay is not a closed system and the water is not treated.

Community grants now available

Applications are now open for the Northern Rivers Community Foundations 2006 small grants round, with the focus being connecting community.

The Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF) supports social, economic, environmental and cultural projects in the Northern Rivers region.

In 2005 the NRCF was able to support 10 organisations through these grants, with projects ranging from a visual arts program for people with mental health challenges to the acquisition of computer resources for a youth enterprise initiative.

Grants of up to $2000 are available and applications close on October 25.

For information and application forms email

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